Snowy owls at Chatham Light

A dozen bird watchers showed up at Chatham Lighthouse to view snowy owls down on the beach
Bird watchers from New York showed up at the Chatham Lighthouse to see a snowy owl. Photo by Pat Brooks.

Did they arrive here with the polar vortex?

The local bird watcher excitement over our invasion of snowy owls of late, has brought a group from the Bedford NY Audubon Society to the Cape in search of these large and beautiful birds.

This morning up to a dozen of them showed up at Chatham Lighthouse to view snowy owls down on the beach. The males are very white while females have brown scalloping as the drawing by John Audubon on the right shows.

Every four or five years, snowy owls head south of their natural habitat in the Arctic region. It is something called "irruption." They have been seen in increasing numbers here on Cape Cod, and there are reports of snowy owl sightings as far south as Florida.

This owl's snowy, white feathers make them much easier to spot than most other owls, and unlike the more common “night owl” species, snowy owls are awake during the daytime.

This yellow-eyed, black-beaked white bird is easily recognizable with its nearly 60 inch wingspan.

Some adults weigh over 6 pounds, and it is one of the largest species of owl in North America.

Some local bird watcher opine that the increased number of these visitors from the Arctic region flew down on the high winds of the recent polar vortex.

Below the Bedford NY bird watchers gaze down on the beach for a look at our latest snowy owl visitor.

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