mrh-slos asked in EnvironmentConservation · 2 months ago

Two species of owl, not normally regarded as British species, are nonetheless occasionally found here ...? ?

These are the European Eagle Owl and the Snowy Owl. Are these most likely to have been released/escaped from captivity or to have flown over from the continent? Owls are certainly strong enough flyers to manage the distances, but they are also low and slow flyers, which would make them vulnerable when flying over the sea from seaspray from below and seabird attack from above. Eagle Owls have occasionally bred here. 

1 Answer

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    No. Snowy owls are known to breed in Scandinavia and Greenland. Snowy owls sometimes experience a population boom because of a boom in the population of lemmings, their favorite prey. The young owls will migrate away from the Arctic and they end up in places that they are not normally found, to the delight of bird watchers. Most of these young owls will not survive however, and the population of snowy owls then shrinks back to more normal levels, until the next population boom. It happens once ever 4 years or so. After a population boom, the lemming population also crashes. Sometimes migrating birds are blown by storms and they end up hundreds, even thousands of miles from their destination. Some birds that live in the continental USA may end up in Hawaii for example.

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