Snowy Owl Sightings On The Rise In Michigan

"The younger, kind of less-established owls are kind of pushed south to the less desirable areas."

WWJ News
January 08, 2020 - 5:21 pm
Snowy Owl

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(WWJ) -- Michiganders have been spotting some visitors from the north this winter -- snowy owls.

The fluffy white owls have been spotted as far south as metro Detroit, with images of the majestic birds filling up social media.

The birds, native to the Arctic regions of northern Canada and Eurasia, prey on small animals such as lemmings, mice, rats, rabbits and sometimes other birds. While snowy owls do migrate in the winter, it's not often they come this far south of the Canadian border.

Ava Landgraf with the Detroit Audubon Society says the migration here happens when there is a boom in the population up north and the older owls chase the others away from the best prey in Canada.

"The younger, kind of less-established are kind of pushed south to the less desirable areas," Landgraf told WWJ.

Landgraf says the fluffy white owls tend to like wide open fields.

"One of the best places you can see them is around airports because airports have those really big, flat areas, kind of cement-type areas too, which kind of mimmicks the rocky tundra areas that they like," Landgraf said.

There have been snowy owl sightings near Lake St. Clair and Hamtramck in recent days, while the Macomb County Sheriff's Office posted a video of one seen swimming in the water earlier this week.

2 photos ▶️ Ventured out to find a Snowy Owl where they are being spotted yesterday. Would have liked to have gotten a little closer but it’s frowned upon to scare them away. Used a 150-600 mm lens. January 6, 2020 . . #puremichigan #michiganders #naturalmichigan #greatlakesstate #michiganview #thegreatlakestate #mittenstate #michiganawesome #capturingmichigan #puremittenpride #hey_ihadtosnapthat #ipulledoverforthis #fiftyshades_of_nature #renegade_rural #rsa_rural #country_features #splendid_outskirts #snowyowl #owlsofinstagram #raw_allnature #usa_naturehippys #splendid_nature #owls #owllove #owllovers #owl #puremittigan #greatlakesproud

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Landgraf says their fluffy, white coats make them the heaviest type of owl, but despite the old adage owls really aren't that wise.

"If you had a captive owl and you tried to train that owl like a dog, it's incredibly hard because they really aren't intelligent in that way."