Snowy Owls Migration Habits

The largest Northern America owl by weight, the snowy owl, spends its winter in the windswept dunes and its summer in the northern parts of the Arctic Circle. The wide-open areas they choose resemble their tundra homes at the north. They move as far south to Florida and Canada. Although their migration is weird, it is not entirely unusual that they have been spotted in the New York City. At the last year’s great migration, about 22 were spotted in the NYC. Moreover, from December last year to date, about seven snowy owls are in the NYC, a continuation of last year’s migration according to LiveScience. TechMedia Network.

For the second year now, Project Snowstorm researchers have spent hours in the cold trying to live-trap the snowy owls. They aim to monitor their locations at any given times. They have been spotted at the coast of Brooklyn and Queens, NYC, as well as at the Governors Island. Data collected from the seven snowy owls is an evidence of their feeding habits as well as their ecology. They eat lemmings, found in the arctic and subarctic areas. At first, people would think the snowy owls migrations are to evade the freezing weather of the Arctic Circle. However, the studies show otherwise, that their agendas are because of their preferred food, the lemmings.

Where there are lemmings, the snowy owls show up there in very vast numbers, feed, mate, and reproduce young owls. Their populations solely depend on the populations of the lemmings. The lemmings breed well in the presence of a profound and insulating snow cover throughout summer and winter. However, the snow levels have gone low in parts of Norway and Greenland. Hence, the lemmings do not breed over winter posing a danger to snowy owls. At the NYC and Canadian coasts, they spent most of their times offshore on the ice plates, which shift and open up. At the polynyas of the ice, resides sea ducks, which the snowy owls feed on.



Nourah Shaishtar

Northridge, CA


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