Rare snowy owl soars over Washington, thrills crowds

APTOPIX Snowy Owl Washington Monuments
Posted at 1:05 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 15:05:29-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — A snowy owl apparently touring iconic buildings of the nation's capital is captivating birdwatchers who manage to get a glimpse of the rare, resplendent visitor from the Arctic.

Far from its summer breeding grounds in Canada, the snowy owl was first seen on January 3, the day a winter storm dumped eight inches of snow on the city. Since then, it's been spotted in the evenings flying around Washington's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Some snowy owls migrate out of Arctic every winter, but the number fluctuates along with the population of lemmings, their chief summer food source.

Scientists consider snowy owls to be "vulnerable" to extinction and say their Arctic breeding grounds are threatened by climate change.