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Feb 6, 2012

Lots of Snowy Owls elsewhere

Photo by Sandy Milliken

In the previous blogspot, I posted a rather pathetic picture I had taken of a Snowy Owl in the Holland Marsh.   No sooner had I done that, than I came across the remarkable photo above.   It was taken by Sandy Milliken, of Post Falls, Idaho, when she was visiting Boundary Bay's driftwood beaches, south-west of Vancouver, British Columbia.   There are actually eleven Snowy Owls in this picture and it illustrates powerfully what is being called by birding experts an 'unbelievable' irruption of Snowies this winter, in southern Canada and the northern American states.   Thousands of these grand-looking birds are being seen from coast-to-coast.   One writer has called the irruption an 'owlapalooza'.   Reports say that recent previous irruptions occurred in 2005, 2006 and 2007, in different parts of the continent, but they were nothing compared to what is happening in 2012.   The question I find myself asking is this 'big year' a fluke and future irruptions will return to normal levels and patterns, or is this the 'new normal' as global warming changes our climate.   The irruptions are caused by failed lemming populations ( the owls favourite food) in the far north which force the  Snowies to head south in the winter.   Below are two more  recent pictures of Snowy Owls.   The upper one was taken in the American mid-west and the lower one was taken in Michigan. 
Photo by Reuters/US Fish and Wildlife Service
Photo by John Dykstra
Please comment if you wish.
Ps.   If you live in the vicinity of King City or King Township, 
you may be interested in my new blog called camera on KING.
Google it at cameraonking .com
or go to 


grammie g said...

Barry...I would just die to see one of them..even if I couldn't get a photo!! hahaha!!
They are just amazing birds!!!

effie kadoglou said...

but they are so cute Barry the white ones all together they seem like lovely babies or what ,,,,i am curious to know how you had a mild winter in Canada with ice everywhere and - 18C temperature .for a few days here in Volos Greece we had - 3 or -4 and we felt frozen night so ,in the day it was 5 or 6C above zero .in northern Greece they had such as -18 temperature in the mountains and they suffered because the winter there begins early and with the economic crisis things are difficult for them.i imagine they have not the style to accomplish a good life up there .but what do i know ????