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Apr 20, 2016 6:34 PM

Seacoast Matters: Snowy owls are making NH a winter destination

RYE - Snowy owls live in the Arctic, but every winter, they fly south into Canada seeking warmer weather. Sometimes they fly even further south into New Hampshire.

Over the past couple of years, two of the beautiful white owls have been spotted nesting in Rye Beach and local residents who watch for the bird’s annual arrival, are thrilled to get a glimpse.

“I love the bird. It’s so beautiful,” said Shannon Lewis of Seabrook.

Armed with her camera, Lewis stands outside in the cold for hours waiting to get photographs of the huge owl that is almost entirely white. It is earth’s only bird of prey that is strong enough to survive the Arctic temperatures.

Experts say climate changes, and lesser prey available in the Arctic has forced the Snowy Owls to fly further and further south in search of food.

When a birder on the Seacoast spots one, that person will tweet out the information so that other bird enthusiasts know where to go. Within the hour, dozens of people are lined up to watch the bird.

“Just about every week I see one,” said Nancy Wilkerson, who posts her Snowy Owl pictures on Facebook and shares them with friends.

Professional wildlife photographer, Kathy Davis loves to train her lens on the magnificent bird. She uses the unique images on custom made products such as cosmetics bags.

“Every year when they leave I have withdrawal,” Davis says, hoping they’ll, once again, return to Rye next winter.

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