The northeast is experiencing a bizarre invasion of snowy owls -- a treat for birdwatchers and a sign of worry for climate watchers. The arrival of the notorious head-turners has itself been been turning heads, the New York Times reports.
Not only is the Boston area seeing the largest number of snowy owls ever recorded, they are popping up in territory far from their usual habitat near the Arctic Circle. Ecstatic bird watchers have spotted them perched atop the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and in Washington (where one made headlines for being struck by a bus), in Little Rock, Ark., and northern Florida - even in Bermuda.
Scientists have begun to speculate as to the cause of the influx:
No one is sure why so many snowies are showing up in so many places - whether it can be attributed to more food in their Arctic habitats than usual, or climate change at the top of the world. "Think about the canary in the coal mine," said Henry Tepper, the president of Mass Audubon, "you think about the snowy owl in the Arctic."
From some of the stunning shots below, it's clear why snowy owls are some of the most coveted sights for birdwatchers.