Bird watchers and Harry Potter fans a have been witness to a very special treat this winter. All across the United States Snowy Owls have been sited flying over fields, lakes, and cities.
This is the type of owl that Hedwig is from the Harry Potter series, and Harry Potter fans across the U.S. have been flocking to see these birds.
Snowy Owls are who live in the Artic most of the year are known to fly south every couple winters in what is known as an irruption. Researchers claim that the Snowy Owls had a very good breeding season this year, and that could be an explanation for why there are so many owls. Instead of having just 1 or 2 chicks, most owls will have 4 or more.
However Harry Potter fans are not the only people excited to see the majestic Snowy Owl. Bird Watchers are revved up for this rare event.
Marshall Iff, an ornithologist at Cornell says to the New York Times, “A lot of people who have never seen one before have rushed out and seen multiples, and photographers are having a field day.”
Some potential hotspots where people may catch a glimpse of these birds are, Washington state at the mouth of the Columba River, Lake Andes National Refuge in South Dakota, Vancouver Canada, Boston, Kansas, and even Hawaii, where when one owl interfered with air traffic control and was shot.
The Snowy Owl’s diet consists mainly on lemmings, and occasionally other small rodents. Some researchers suggest that the lemming population had decreased recently and that the birds were forced to migrate in great numbers to find food. However most researchers claim that the birds they have noticed seem to be in good health and are not starving.
The irruption started in fall and is expected to last till March or April. For people in places like Kansas or Missouri, this bird is exceedingly rare. Some experts try and explain their popularity through their white coloring.
Mr Holt a leading world expert on Snowy Owls states, “White wolves, polar bears, white whales, white buffalo — there is something about white plumage that signifies innocence or purity,” he said. “People don’t flock to see any other animal the way they do white ones.”
Make Sure you try and catch a glimpse of these majestic snowy animals before they all disappear for the summer.