A record number of snowy owls are stopping in Northeast Ohio, all due to a biological phenomenon.
The owls are native to the Arctic, and it’s normal to see one or two in Northeast Ohio during the winter. This year, 18 have been spotted in the Cleveland area just since Thanksgiving - including in downtown, the Lakefront Reservation Edgewater Park, the East 55th marina, and Gordon Park.
Marty Calabrese, a naturalist at Cleveland Metroparks, says the reason is owls had more to eat this summer, which led to more offspring.
“There’s more snowy owls so their distribution is reaching further south,” Calabrese says. “And we call that ‘irruption.’”
Calabrese says the owls are not invasive, and are commonly seen along Lake Erie shore. They are expected to stay until March.
"Many have turned up inland, so keep an eye to the sky, the tops of signs, posts, telephone and light poles, and even the roofs of houses," wrote Cleveland Parks on Facebook.