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Rare Arctic Owl Migration to the U.S.

However, while tourist dollars are flying into the pockets of locals where owls have been spotted, some of the birds are in really poor condition. One emaciated owl dropped dead in a farmer’s Wisconsin field. Fortunately, most of the owls seem to be thriving.

This unusual migration is likely linked to lemmings, a small fuzzy rodent that is infamously known for catapulting itself off high cliffs.  Lemmings account for about 90 percent of the snowy owl diet during the breeding months of May through September. Last year, the lemming population exploded and therefore there was plenty of food for the owls, which resulted in the owls having their own population boom. The typical clutch of the snowy owl is one or two eggs, while this year a breeding pair was blessed with as many as seven offspring.  Obviously, this created greater competition for resources as the chicks matured. Thus, it is hypothesized that the younger birds, primarily males, were driven farther south than usual.

Other experts are pointing an accusing finger at climate change.

However, the reality is, even the bird experts do not know exactly why so many of the snow white owls have moved south.  ”There’s a lot of speculation…we really don’t know,” Holt said.

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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.

41 comments

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5:14AM PDT on Apr 11, 2014

Thanks

3:16AM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

thank you for the interesting article,thank you for sharing 5/7

5:07AM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

very interesting post, thanks Cherise.....very alarming news

1:38PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

AWESOME!

11:32AM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

fantastic news

1:50AM PST on Mar 9, 2012

"I wonder why the lemmings intentionally fall over a cliff,lol.poor guys."..........Lidia, with all due respect, what are you talking about and what is the relevance of lemmings to snowy owls? BTW, it's a silly old wives' tale about lemmings falling off cliffs. It doesn't happen.

9:00AM PST on Mar 8, 2012

Beautiful birds the snowy owl.:). I wonder why the lemmings intentionally fall over a cliff,lol.poor guys.

2:32AM PST on Mar 8, 2012

They are indeed beautiful.

9:56AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

They are very beautiful. Thanks Cherise.

8:22AM PST on Feb 10, 2012

Incredible and indicative of the radical environmental changes emerging with climate change and related adaptation efforts.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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