Have you seen a snowy owl this year? The huge, white birds are flocking to Ontario in numbers for the second year in a row. It’s an exciting event for bird watchers, but a real pain for airport officials. According to the CBC, officials at the Windsor Airport say they expect to trap, band and release up to 35 snowy owls this winter.
There are a variety of theories as to why the big white birds are venturing farther south than usual, from a shortage of lemmings in the Arctic – the owl’s favourite food – to climate change. According to the CBC, the Ontario invasion of snowy owls in 2013 was called an irruption. This year, the second year of the phenomenon, is called an echo.
They are large birds, weighing up to 12 pounds and they aren’t familiar with heavy machinery so they can pose a problem if camping out in your barn or near the airport. Snowy owls are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty.
50 snowy owls have been spotted in the Ottawa area so far this winter, including two in North Grenville.