Scientists bewildered by mass migration of snowy owls from the Arctic

January 28, 2012SALMON, IdahoBird enthusiasts are reporting rising numbers of snowy owls from the Arctic winging into the lower 48 states this winter in a mass southern migration that a leading owl researcher called “unbelievable.” Thousands of the snow-white birds, which stand 2 feet tall with 5-foot wingspans, have been spotted from coast to coast, feeding in farmlands in Idaho, roosting on rooftops in Montana, gliding over golf courses in Missouri and soaring over shorelines in Massachusetts. A certain number of the iconic owls fly south from their Arctic breeding grounds each winter but rarely do so many venture so far away even amid large-scale, periodic southern migrations known as irruptions. “What we’re seeing now — it’s unbelievable,” said Denver Holt, head of the Owl Research Institute in Montana. “This is the most significant wildlife event in decades,” added Holt, who has studied snowy owls in their Arctic tundra ecosystem for two decades. Holt and other owl experts say the phenomenon is likely linked to lemmings, a rodent that accounts for 90 percent of the diet of snowy owls during breeding months that stretch from May into September. The largely nocturnal birds also prey on a host of other animals, from voles to geese. An especially plentiful supply of lemmings last season likely led to a population boom among owls that resulted in each breeding pair hatching as many as seven offspring.
 Mystery of great migration:  That compares to a typical clutch size of no more than two, Holt said. Greater competition this year for food in the Far North by the booming bird population may have then driven mostly younger, male owls much farther south than normal. Research on the animals is scarce because of the remoteness and extreme conditions of the terrain the owls occupy, including northern Russia and Scandinavia, he said. The surge in snowy owl sightings has brought birders flocking from Texas, Arizona and Utah to the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest, pouring tourist dollars into local economies and crowding parks and wildlife areas. The irruption has triggered widespread public fascination that appears to span ages and interests.”For the last couple months, every other visitor asks if we’ve seen a snowy owl today,” said Frances Tanaka, a volunteer for the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Olympia, Washington. But accounts of emaciated owls at some sites — including a food-starved bird that dropped dead in a farmer’s field in Wisconsin — suggest the migration has a darker side. And Holt said an owl that landed at an airport in Hawaii in November was shot and killed to avoid collisions with planes. He said snowy owl populations are believed to be in an overall decline, possibly because a changing climate has lessened the abundance of vegetation like grasses that lemmings rely on. This winter’s snowy owl outbreak, with multiple sightings as far south as Oklahoma, remains largely a mystery of nature. “There’s a lot of speculation. As far as hard evidence, we really don’t know,” Holt said. –Yahoo News, Reuters
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25 Responses to Scientists bewildered by mass migration of snowy owls from the Arctic

  1. Maybe something to do with this magnetic pole shift?

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  2. Bobi becker says:

    The animals and birds know a lot more than humans give them credit for. There is definitely something that has triggered their exodus and I do not believe it is a lack of food – more like an impending earth event that they are getting away from to a safer environment. All the creatures (not the humans) know what is happening. Just watch them and learn – however humans tend to think we know it all and sorry to say, we are the lowest form of life on this planet and are, through our ignorance and greed, destroying ourselves. Many prophesies have stated this very fact but no one wants to listen… when we do wake up, it will be too late….

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    • Quebec, Canada says:

      I agree we consider ourselves at the top of the evolutionary ladder but the fact is, doing so we’ve discarded a lot of our knowledge of (and respect for) nature and living things (whether plants or animals). Our intuition was a tool that I’m sure our ancestors listened to – and now, well, few people listen to theirs… which is something that would be very helpful these days.

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  3. Sean says:

    higher than normal methane release killing of their food chain? rodents …?? from melting tundra?
    interesting indeed.. it seems more an more pieces of the puzzle are coming together in the big picture….

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  4. Chynna says:

    My parents live on the BC coast, and the hummingbirds haven’t migrated at all! It’s been a pretty mild winter. No doubt related to the sun being in it’s solar maximum.

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  5. Mike H says:

    I say look at the fact there is no more “jet stream” in our weather predictions ability and there is a reason for that. Usually explained at great lenghts here, kudos
    The Snowy White Owl is truly a magnificent creature, wow. This enprecedented migration is somewhat of an anomaly for sure, hmmm. Things that make you go, what?

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  6. Judy Clarke says:

    I believe that these owls, being close to nature, can feel an event coming on well before it happen’s. Therefore if they can feel danger, they will move. eg. volcano’s are in the vicinity of the usual nesting spot and earth movement may also be triggered by this or vice versa. Animals, especially birds can feel these changes, before they occur. Check out the volcanic activity of the area they were in and maybe the mystery will be solved

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  7. Blaze says:

    I know what this means.. Unusually warm weather. Migratory birds are all out of whack! (quoted from NPR)….. Magnetic Pole moving towards Russia…. Shifting all climates up, South to North.

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  8. Richard says:

    One found dead in Ohio. Owls are creatures that use Sonar for hunting. Strange sounds and unusual migrations of Owls. Think there is a connection?

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/01/13/snowy-owl-starved-to-death-bird-expert-says.html

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  9. Richard says:

    Nice little BBC video about how the Owl depends on sound to hunt. Imagine a constant sound that is disrupting the owls ability to hunt. A sound that is only sometimes audible to humans.

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  10. maya3Ahau says:

    I don’t know if this has any relevance to your story, but two days ago there were about 10 robins in our backyard. I have never witnessed this in the 20 yrs we have lived in this house. We live about 30 minutes from the Canadian border in NY and I have never seen robins this early. We usually do not spot robins til spring, somewhere around the end of March beginning of April. There was a lot of bird chatter going on outside that day, it was beautiful, I love hearing the birds chirping! We have had no snow here to speak of, a dusting to a couple of inches here and there. Usually around this time we are buried and frozen, not so this year, we barely have an inch of snow on the ground and I am not complaining, just saying. Thank you, Tina

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  11. Adam says:

    Multiple Snowy Owls have been seen at a lake here in N.W. Missouri this winter.

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  12. Snowy owl spotting in Michigan too…but unfortunately this one was apparently hit and killed by a vehicle on the highway north of Muskegon in Whitehall, MI.

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  13. TNO says:

    Could they be running from the radiation that is pelting the northern hemisphere?

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  14. Columbine says:

    The robins have not left Colorado Springs at all this fall and winter. A pair have lived in and around our backyard, claiming the fruiting crabapple trees as their own, even chasing other birds away. I would love to see a snowy owl – hopefully they will come to Colorado as well.

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  15. Chuck says:

    Hi all, just my two cents, yes these creatures may infact be “feeling” there’s an event headed to their normal roosting hunting zone, what other critters are on the move? Dogs, cats, wolves? Good night and thanks for having your collection available Alvin.

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  16. sealed says:

    Owls are an intriguing symbol in the Bible. “They are mentioned frequently, and always in reference to a nation that has been judged, and who is laid waste. (Except for the listing of them in Leviticus as a non-clean food). Owls are unclean birds in the bible, and their appearance is always a reference to waste places. One example is Isaiah 34:11.
    “But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it; And He will stretch over it the line of desolation And the plumb line of emptiness.”
    2 Peter 1:19 says, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” Peter says, look to what the Word says.

    “Will America become the very emblem of desolation? Is it soon upon us? Is it at the very doors?… As the owl screeches in the dark all over America this night, from Hawaii to Massachusetts, perhaps it becomes America’s dirge.” (E. Prata)

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  17. Dano says:

    in NW Montana we already have Osprey’s showing up they are usually the last of the migratory birds to show up in may

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  18. CrazyMuggle says:

    It’s the wizarding world! SOMETHING MUST HAVE HAPPENED!

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  19. Glenn Rice says:

    I believe you have struck an important truth here, Mr Sealed. As a student of the prophetic word, my first thought on seeing this story was the owls inhabiting Babylon after its judgement. Isaiah 13:21 – “But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of owls; Ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats will caper there.” The picture is clearly one of a wasteland full of creatures that seem a bit unsavory. I believe that is where this nation is heading. We will soon see, I think.

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  20. bgupta2001 says:

    Ladies souls are being made to rape under earth and even souls ‘s
    souls are brought and some thing is given in stomach and it is
    happening under earth and the stomaches, happening for revenges . in
    my eyes was seen a human body was pushed into holes of , under groung
    in earth , how humans are born same way sending back . is it not shame
    full even for great humans are doing like such kind of things for
    revenges .
    requests you to request and pray to others also to make to stop and
    save every soul either may be your enemy . every woman . girl .
    being as a goddess and angle please save each and every soul ,from
    pain & sufferings .where ever maybe in any atom ,molecule ,any kind
    of hell or in rocks or any part in earth .
    what ever may punishment is should be given on the earth only infront of all .
    ————————————————————————————————————————
    in india ,tamilnadu ,human souls are taken under earth ,under rocks
    ,even to several thousnds kilometers under rocks,taking old revenges
    ,vengenes ,conspirancies ,polatics and given different shapes .in
    sevrages and made like aliens .taking under earth and beating and
    burning .
    even to center of the earth, where no body can be able to find out ,
    under rocks .even converting souls (atamas) to pieces the size of
    molecules even to newtron, proton size so that no one can search
    .buring alive .beating , cutting parts of boby of (souls) atama ,
    sending to hell the place like toilt severages where no body sees ,
    making aliens and like aliens from human .joining different souls
    atamas giveing unnatural shapes .breaking soul cutting hands , legs
    .stomach ,toungs,seprating layers of body and souls . spoil of budies
    brains , spoiling souls , kundlanies shakties ,nurves systems
    ,spoiling humans ,beating souls ,human micro soul powers .
    even taking souls from a very small hole .from the toilet room .and
    making souls into very very small sizes .
    request ——souls ,grand souls, microsouls or any molecules of human
    or any creatures should not be taken under earth or any hell for any
    punishment ,any kind of torturings ,sufferings .and requests, what
    ever punishment is should be given on the earth only infront of all .
    ———————————————————————-
    ——
    a request to request and pray —- from the very ancient time one
    curse is coming on . even gods and devatas ( angeles ) , souls were
    also affected by the curse of evil thoughts .
    when any god or anyone would had created male and female , some god
    would had invented the sex and thoughts of sex (kam) for the birth for
    childrens . .. at those times the evil thoughts of KAMA (sex) and KAM
    (sex) would had been the requirements . but after words became
    curses .
    if there would had been no evil thoughts of sex (kama ) which causes
    insult and hates .never would had been no one insulted and was the
    main cause of every quarrel, every insult and every destructions .
    —————————————————————————————————————
    from the ancient times we are the main cause for every bad happening .

    —-in earlirer past births ( janams ) would have done some mistakes
    or sins that may be due to bad budhies (bad wisedom )(
    बुदधि ) or bad fate. . which made sinner and sinner, and was not able
    to come out of bad thoughts and bad wisdom . due to that others are
    also got affected and became victims and getting punished .
    so requests
    —-
    REQUEST to request to give DEATH for ME ,MOTHER ,and FATHER ,and even
    to my TWO BROTHERS,and ONE SISTER to soul,grand soul ,kundaliy ,by
    giving or injecting POSION (which science & scientits can produce) and
    shown in the “DASAVATARAM “tamil & hindi india movie.BURN infront of
    ALL ON THE EARTH ONLY
    whatever punishment for anyone .please given on the earth only , what
    ever it may be human,souls ,grand souls or any molecules infront of
    every one.

    ———————————————————
    every one was not born with the god’good grace and nature’s good
    grace of good qualities and the good fate and luck to have good
    inteligence ,good wisdom ,good qualities ,and circuimstances not to
    commit ever any mistakes or sins .
    —every human every soul either good or bad ,angle or evil
    ,sinner,demon , god or devil every creature ,every one want to live as
    a good humanbeing –please save
    request—-instead of killing ,spoiling lives,destroying ,sending
    under earth ,hells ,if some place is given far away from india .and
    some thing are done for better to improve the qualities of humans and
    souls .so that every one can live .
    ———————————————————————————–
    REQUESTS you and REQUESTS to REQUEST and PRAY to EARTH — there
    be no any hell under earth .no soul be suffering under earth ,hell ,or
    any kind of placses under earth for suffering , pain ,punishment or
    any kind of torturings .
    due to bad wisdom and bad fate every one do mistakes , sins. every one
    was not born with the good grace nature and qualities not doing
    mistakes and sins .every soul, every molecule ,every human may be
    sinner or good get back each and every molecule which are taken from
    humans ,souls,and be the humans again .and every human ,soul,molecule
    get the good wisedom ,good intelegence not to commeiting any sin not
    doing wrong bad,not doing anything which cause insult to anyone which
    makes anyone angry ,there be no bad words,no bad thoughts,no hates ,no
    sins,no vengeances,no quarrels ,no life lose. be respect for every one
    ,in every soul,human, kundalini ,every molecule .there be no any
    soul,molecule, creatuers,with any kind of suffering,punishment,or any
    torturings .there should not be any hell under earth .no soul be taken
    to under earth ,hell ,or any kind of placses under earth for suffering
    ,punishment or any kind of torturings
    ———————————————————
    from the time of old vedic (india ancient scriptures time) .puranic
    stories (indian ancient) time and stories, curses of rishes (saints)
    devtas (angles) asurans (satans) ( devatas quarrels ) ramanya ,
    mahabharata enemities, conspirancies (
    षङयत्रॅ ) cheatings ,dirty polatics , mistakes ( THAT TIME MAY BE
    MISTAKES OF ONE OR TWO PERSONS ) ,old revenges are taking place still
    going on. due to some bad budhies ( wise )(wisedom) ( बुदधि ) bad
    thoughts , bad understanding , egos , and adamant natures ( हठ )
    ,blaming each others, those enemities and revenges has brought to this
    level . now it has taken very destruction .
    2 ) if at those ancients times some wise peoples would have taken wise
    decissions for the betterment for each others and others , no
    ramayana, no mahabhartha , no war ,no fight ,no quarrels , in puranic
    (ancients) times and now nothing would have not taken place
    —————————————————————————————————————————————–
    some mistakes of wrong marriages / propasals and some wrong
    principles ,traditions from the ancient times are the cause of the
    quarrels and destructions .

    Like

  21. Hello there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a
    quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading your articles.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics?
    Thanks a lot!

    Like

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