Photo by David Hemmings via Wikimedia
Photo by David Hemmings via Wikimedia

The snowy owl may look majestic and mysterious, but don’t be fooled — these white, feathery birds are poised to become the unexpected urban scourge of the 21st century. You heard it here first, readers: Snowy owls are the new pigeons.

Okay, so maybe things aren’t quite that bad — yet. As the Atlantic Cities reports, owls are increasingly being spotted in places like New York and Philadelphia — that is, spots that are much more southerly (and much more urban) than they’re used to. And, of course Baltimore is no exception; birders spotted a snowy owl perched in various spots around town last month.

While they’re better looking than pigeons, they can cause just as many problems. Snowy owls are attracted to airports, perhaps because runways resemble Arctic tundra. Last month, five different airplanes at New York’s Kennedy Airport crashed into snowy owls, and airport officials had to resort to drastic measures to remove an owl who was lurking around BWI.

Birders, of course, are pleased. “It’s kind of one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities you get,” ecologist Dave Brinker told the Baltimore Sun.

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