The Snowy Owl, a conspicuous and majestic bird of the circumpolar arctic, is an efficient hunterof small mammals in tundra environs. In years of high lemming numbers they will focus on thisabundant food source but will readily switch to a wide variety of other prey when lemmings arescarce (Parmelee 1992). Their breeding range in Alaska is generally restricted to the ArcticCoastal Plain, typically nesting in more upland tundra habitats, although they often, though notexclusively, forage in wetter tundra (Parmelee 1992). Snowy Owls are unpredictable migrantsand will sometimes “invade” portions of southern Canada and the northern contiguous US, inwinters when lemmings are scarce in the Arctic. The current global population is estimated at300,000 (Rich et al. 2004).
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