Local/State

Snowy owls migrate to Northeast US

Sunday, December 22, 2013
A snowy owl is seen flying over Strathmere, Cape May County in photos taken by Action News viewer Bill Tierney.

A snowy owl is seen flying over Strathmere, Cape May County in photos taken by Action News viewer Bill Tierney.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says that within the past month five planes at JFK, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia airports have been struck by snowy owls.

The agency released a statement back on December 9th saying it is working with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to immediately implement a program to trap and relocate snowy owls that pose a threat to aircraft.

An unusual number of snowy owls have been spotted in the northern U.S. this year and have been setting up winter residence at airports, fields and beaches far south of their normal range.

According to ebird.org, the snowy owl invasions are thought to occur because of variations in cyclical prey and predator populations in the Arctic, but the exact dynamics still leave many questions.

Chris Wood, a researcher at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the project leader for eBird, tells the New York Times that this year's migration was "unlike anything most of us have seen in our lifetime in the Eastern United States."

Bird strikes over New York have been getting special attention since 2009, when a flight successfully ditched in the Hudson River after hitting a flock of geese.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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