Homesick Owls Confusing Airports With Arctic Tundra
A record number of migrating snowy owls are causing trouble at U.S. airports.
Despite their renowned wisdom, snowy owls migrating south are mistaking airport runways for safe habitat, putting themselves, and air travelers, at risk.
Right now, perhaps the largest ever number of Arctic snowy owls—yes, the type beloved by Harry Potter and friends—are descending on the Northeast and Great Lakes states in one of what may be several waves of arrivals. (Such an influx is called an "irruption," just for the record.)
It's hard to get trustworthy counts because of how scattered the birds are now and how extensive their range is, stretching from Newfoundland to Bermuda. But the numbers appear to be unprecedented, and bird experts aren't exactly sure why. (See a map of snowy owl sightings here.)