LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Despite the fact that its white feathers blend in well with the current D.C. landscape, plenty of people spotted a rare snowy owl in the District on Wednesday.
But, as it turns out, sightings of the majestic white birds that spend their summers in the Arctic aren’t as uncommon this winter.
The owls have flown south in record numbers this year, according to Pennsylvania-based naturalist Scott Weidensaul.
He says the mass migration is due to the fact that food at the owls’ breeding grounds was plentiful during this past breeding season.
In a normal season, a female owl will lay up to eight eggs, but there isn’t enough food available to feed all the babies. As a result, hatchlings tend to cannibalize their smaller siblings.
This year, scientists think there was enough food so that most babies in every nest survived.
In other words, there was a “massive, massive production of young owls this year,” according to Weidensaul.
Read more about the snowy owl influx here.