Harry Potter’s Owl Arrives in America in Large Numbers

Dan Evon - Author

Sep. 16 2013, Updated 6:51 a.m. ET

Harry Potter’s owl is typically found in either Hogwarts or the Arctic, but the majestic white owl has been spotted in large numbers this winter in the United States.

The Associated Press reports that a few Harry Potter’s owls will venture to America every three to four winters. But this year, birders in the Pacific Northwest have reported frequent sightings of the snowy owl. More than 30 were spotted in December alone at Lake Andes in South Dakota.

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Denver Holt, director of the Owl Research Institute in Charlo, Montana, said that the abundance of Harry Potter’s owls in the United States this year is due to a plentiful population of Arctic lemmings this season. The snowy owls eat lemmings and many youngsters have ventured over the border while following food. Still, Holt says that this winter has been very unusual since the owls have been spotted coast to coast.

According to the Associated Press, snowy owls have been spotted in Boston, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, and Chicago. Matthew Cvetas, an Evanston, Ill., birder, said:

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“It’s just been really incredible. Here’s the largest North American owl in terms of weight, a near all-white ghost of a bird for an adult male… For me, it symbolizes wilderness at its best.”

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Snowy owls have always been an exciting site for birders, but when they became “Harry Potter’s Owl” after the 2001 film “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the snowy owl has gained a more feverish following. In 2002, the owl even landed on the cover of National Geographic.

Holt said:

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“We were inundated with phone calls from people about all these kids wanting to have pet snowy owls. It just went crazy for a while there.”

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Are you a fan of Harry Potter? Are you excited about all the Harry Potter’s owls?


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