Compass

Way, way south for the winter: Flickr photo of the day

Compass

(Photo: m01229 / Flickr)

Snowy owls, big boreal birds with brilliant white plumage, are seldom seen south of the frozen Arctic tundra, but this winter they are venturing south in unprecedented numbers; as far south as northern Florida and Bermuda.

Ornithologists aren’t sure why -- exceptionally cold weather in the contiguous U.S., or less food in their Arctic habitats are two possible reasons. Whatever the reason, Bubo scandiacus, with its five-foot wingspan, has birders chattering and Harry Potter fans are fondly remembering his pet Snowy, Hedwig. 

This Snowy owl was photographed in Vermillion, Minn., by m1229.

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