PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In the past few weeks, big white owls from the Arctic have been turning up in the Eastern U.S., including the Delaware Valley.
Researchers with the nonprofit that studies the birds and then outfits with GPS trackers says it may mean a blizzard of Snowy Owls is on the way.READ MORE: Teen Victim Speaks Out For First Time Following Racially Motivated Attack Aboard SEPTA Train
Project Snowstorm co-founder Scott Weidensaul says it was the Snowy Owl invasion four years ago that inspired the group’s formation.
This year, “They’re just all over the place right now — Montgomery County, Lebanon County, Dauphin County, Susquehanna County, all the way up to Presque Isle on Lake Erie, all along the Jersey Coast,” Weidensaul said.
He says the apparent increase in owls, called an irruption, is a natural phenomenon resulting from a four-year peak in Northern Quebec in the breeding cycle of a little rodent on the birds’ summer menu.
“Lots of Snowy Owls feeding on lots of lemmings, and having lots of babies, and the owls coming south this winter appear to mostly be young birds on their first migrations,” said Weidensaul.READ MORE: 'Georgia's Defense Is Just So Good': CBS Sports’ Houston Nutt Previews SEC And Conference USA Championships
It’s an opportunity for Project Snowstorm deepen their understanding of the big white raptors.
And, for regular folks,
“You’re not gonna see a polar bear walking down Broad Street, but these Snowy Owls coming down from the Arctic bring a little bit of the Arctic south with them every year,” Weidensaul said.MORE NEWS: Open For Business: The Merrygold Shop's Carefully Curated Items Bring Especially Merry Feel To Holidays
You can follow the birds they’re tracking at projectsnowstorm.org