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MILFORD, Del. (AP) — Snowy owls that typically live in the arctic have been making rare visits to southern Delaware.

The Delaware State News reported Saturday that sightings of the bird have excited wildlife enthusiasts, birders and photographers. People have been observing the owls at such places as the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Milford.

Snowy owls have been spotted throughout the Midwest and Northeast this year. Researchers believe the influx is the result of surges in the owl’s main food source, lemmings, which are rodents that live under Arctic snowpack. The snowy owl population rises when lemmings are more abundant, increasing competition among the birds and sending more of them south.

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control wildlife biologist Kate Fleming said snowy owls in general are pretty rare in Delaware.


Information from: Delaware State News,