We’re experiencing what could be the largest-ever influx of Arctic Snowy Owls into the Northeast and the Great Lakes states, and more may be on the way. Dr. Kevin McGowan, a biologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, says this may be the first wave and we should expect more.
“More than likely these Snowy Owls are moving south from the Arctic because of a shortage of their favorite food up north—lemmings, or because of a bumper crop of young,” he said, “We can expect them to stick around through early spring before they head back to the Arctic again.”
This year’s Snowy Owl irruption is the largest recorded in decades in the Northeast and is an excellent opportunity to see these birds, so here are a few online resources to get you up to speed on our latest high profile visitors.
You can learn more about the reasons behind the current “irruption” and see mapped sightings to guide your own viewing here. Additional articles about a similar irruption in 2011-12 can be found here and here.
A mini documentary on Snowy Owls produced in 2011 can be found here.
Cornell’s Macaulay Library has lots of raw Snowy Owl video in its online archive, including nesting owls feeding their young. Have a look.
If you’ve seen and photographed a Snowy Owl this winter, post it to our Facebook page and we’ll share it with our readers.
Photo of Snowy Owl by permission of Diane McAllister, Imprints of Nature.