MONTPELIER, Vt. (UPI) — An increase in the number of snowy owl sightings in the United States shouldn’t be a cause for concern, experts say.
It’s normal for the snow-white owls to be seen migrating south this time of year, but in 2014 there has been an abnormally large number of sightings as far south as South America.
“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.”
Another possibility, experts said, is that perhaps there were lower numbers of lemmings this year so snowy owls have had to push further south in search of food.