The press has been reporting stories of Snowy Owl incursion from their Arctic home into the upper Midwest this year. Ornithologists still don't seem to know with certainty why these incursions occur. The theory used to be that lemming and other rodent population in the north crashed sending the owls south to find food. The current theory is that a large lemming population in the Spring led to a lot of owl births and so the young move south into new territory because of the large numbers. In 2010 there was an incursion of Great Grey Owls and my son Dan and I traveled to Minnesota and were fortunate to find some.
A few years ago, I read reports of a Great Horned Owl nest in St. Cloud, Florida when I was visiting and was fortunate to have one of the chicks raise its head above the feathers from leftover food its parents brought.
One of my favorite encounters with an owl was finding a Burrowing Owl on a hike in Florida. Unfortunately, I can't find the images. Grrr. I did find this image of a captive Eastern Screech Owl that was being rescued in St. Augustine, FL.
When Snowy Owls had an incursion a few years ago that went down to Florida, one found a good source of food among the rodents and other creatures at Montrose Harbor in Chicago. I was not locating it, when in the distance I saw a white bird flying. As I looked through my lens, it flew toward me, until it got so close I couldn't focus and it flew a few feet next to me. What a first encounter! I got some good flight shots and then this one when it landed nearby. If you find reports of Snowies in your area this year, I hope you can find one of these magnificent creatures.