Snowy Owl Sightings Are Nothing to Worry About

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There has been an unusual number of snowy owl sightings in the United States of late, but experts say the sightings are nothing to be alarmed about.

“The reason we are seeing so many snowy owls this year has everything to do with their food," said Larry Clarfeld from the North Branch Nature Center. "So in the Arctic breeding ground, snowy owls like to eat lemmings and this past summer of 2013, there were so many lemmings in the Arctic that many young snowy owls were born but once winter came there wasn’t enough food for them to stay in the Arctic so we had them moving south in record numbers.”

Many birdwatchers have flocked to the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge just outside Atlantic City, New Jersey to observe the magnificent birds.

“Oh he was turning his head so you could see his eyes looking right at us,” one woman said.

“It’s actually pretty special to have snow owls in New Jersey,” said Donald Freiday with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. “We normally in a given winter will have between none and three. This year, the whole state there are as many as 30.

“It’s certainly a special big year for snowy owls. We think that the reason there are so many snowy owls in New Jersey… is because they had a really good year this year up in the Arctic where they breed. And when that happens, they produce lots of offspring. There’s competition for food among them and they come south as a result.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Pam Wright

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