For the fourth winter in a row, snowy owls from the Canadian tundra have migrated to the beaches of New Jersey. Experts say the birds are not regular migrants but make the trip when populations of lemmings and other small rodents drop in the Arctic along with the numbers of fish and birds that the owls also eat.
In New Jersey, the owls look for areas that resemble their habitat in the north, including sand dunes and open fields. The males are almost entirely white, while females have what the Raptor Trust in Millington describes as dark flecking.
Bird enthusiasts are urged to admire the owls but to keep their distance. Experts say the birds are under a lot of stress after the long flight from Canada, and much of the habitat they seek out in New Jersey, especially dunes, can be easily damaged.
on Newsworks, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.