DUXBURY, Mass. — The snowy owl seemed almost complacent, showing the confidence of a top predator whose bright yellow eyes suggested she might be sizing you up as a weaker combatant — or perhaps a large snack.

She had been where no bird should safely be — Logan International Airport in Boston — and now, regal and imposing in brief captivity, she represented the latest of her kind to arrive in a remarkable and growing winter’s wandering to the Lower 48.

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.

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Oh my goodness, we are getting a lot more evidence of changes taking place. In this case, a pleasant one. I hope they can figure out nice places to nest. They will encounter new predators and new opportunities. 


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