|Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), Gratiot County, MI|
We know that snowy owls are nomadic, often traveling thousands of miles across the arctic to areas where lemming populations are booming. These booms in lemming populations are cyclical, often happening every three to five years. Good years for lemmings in turn are good years for snowies, allowing nesting pairs to raise several youngsters to young adulthood. According to scientists who study snow owls, the summer of 2013 was a banner year for lemmings, leading to huge colonies of breeding snowy owls. This, coupled with early, deep snow in the arctic has created a "perfect storm" which hasn't been seen in more than half a century.
|A snowy rests in the agricultural tundra of Isabella County, MI.|