The Block Island Times

Portrait of a snowy owl

By Malcolm Greenaway | Mar 17, 2014
Photo by: Malcolm Greenaway

One of the bigger (national) stories of the winter has been the explosion of snowy owls in the Arctic and a subsequent migration to the lower 48 states in search of food. Snowy owls have been showing up in places that have never seen a snowy owl before.

Owls started to appear all over the United States right around Thanksgiving — in Nebraska, in Kentucky — even as far south as Georgia. Dave Brinker, a biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, was shocked when he saw not one but two snowy owls on a small stretch of Maryland beach. “Something huge is going on,” Brinker told his colleagues. “We won't see something like this for a long time — probably for the rest of our lifetimes.” This rapid population boom — called an "irruption" by ecologists — is the largest the East Coast has seen in 40 or 50 years." (According to

There have been articles in The New York Times and a snowy owl graces the cover of the current Audubon Magazine. Of course, snowy owls have been spotted on Block Island as well.

Question: Are the snowy owls still here? Answer: They certainly are. I took the attached photo on Monday, March 10, on West Beach. This is one of the better human interest stories out here.

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