comScore Snowy Owls Migrating from Canada to Southern U.S. | The Mary Sue

Thousands of Snowy Owls Are Migrating to Florida Because It’s Too Cold in Canada

It's definitely not because they want to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. Nope.



Snowy owls tend to stick to parts of the continent that are, y’know, snowy — but anything goes in this weird post-polar vortex world of ours, and now there are reports of snowy owl sightings as far south as Florida. That’s right, it’s too cold in Canada for animals that have the word “snow” in their names.

It’s not just the deep freeze that’s driving animals out of the Great White North, of course. This particular mass migration is probably due to a massive decrease of lemmings, which are the owls’ favorite food.

Contrary to a once popularly-held belief, lemmings don’t spontaneously decide to jump off of cliffs when there’s a surge in their population every couple of years. Instead, they all get picked off by snowy owls, and the owl population booms instead. Then, once there aren’t enough lemmings to go around anymore, those extra owls start to spread themselves out in search of more food.

This was a record year for lemmings, so it’s also been a record year for snowy owls, and now that it’s literally colder than Mars in Canada, all the food has run dry and those owls are seeking different, slightly warmer pastures. And they’ve got a lot of ground they can cover for the next couple of days until it starts to get warmer. Once it does, they’ll move back up to their home in the Arctic.

Of course, maybe it’s not as dire as we think. Maybe it’s just that all the wizards in Canada have gone south for the winter and are using their owls to forward their mail. Yeah, that’s probably it.

(via CBS News, image via Sergey Yeliseev)

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