Snowy Owl Invasion! Tracking an Unusual Migration
Snowy Owl Invasion! Tracking an Unusual Migration
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Annotation: Describes the snowy owl irruption of 2013-2014, during which snowy owls began appearing unexpectedly in the Eastern United States, and explains how scientists monitored the birds' behavior and migration patterns with GPS devices.
Genre: Biology
Catalog Number: #157084
Format: Library Binding
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 48 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-512-43106-0
ISBN 13: 978-1-512-43106-3
Dewey: 598.9
LCCN: 2017010741
Dimensions: 24 x 28 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
At the wintry end of 2013, bird watchers and biologists in the northeastern U.S. noticed a peculiar thing: they were spotting high numbers of snowy owls, a bird predominately found in the Arctic and northern Canada. During the 2013 14 winter, however, the owls were spotted even as far south as Florida. For scientists, determining the cause of this irruption e sudden increase of an animal population in areas it doesn't usually inhabit ant taking a look at the environmental factors, such as population boom in lemmings, the owl's primary food source, that led to increased survival rates, and increased competition, among owls. In clearly designed pages featuring frequent, glossy photos, this book introduces the life cycle, usual tundra habitat, and habits of the snowy owl before it delves into Project SNOWstorm, an initiative focused on gaining insight into migration patterns. Reasons irruptions occur and advances in technology that allow scientists to glean more knowledge than ever before are thoroughly explored. A solid pick for aspiring biologists and tech fans alike.
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 36 In 2013, snowy owls made an unusual trip south, but that detour is only part of the story acclaimed science writer Markle shares in her latest book. Markle starts with background information, revealing why so many snowy owls traveled south, and then explains how scientists quickly capitalized on the circumstances to tag the birds and follow their migration routes. The story gains momentum as Markle details the importance of the food chain and provides insight from scientists working with the owls. These interviews and accompanying photographs set the book apart and bring the story to life. The writing is easy to understand and never boring. The main narrative is laid out in full-color spreads, accompanied by photographs (some stock, some provided by the scientists) and maps. Full-page sidebars are differentiated from the main text by changes in backgrounds and typefaces. The distinctions are subtle but make the reading experience flow that much more easily. Similarly, definitions are addressed naturally within the text, providing no interruptions. Markle's author's note ends the tale and is also a good read. She explains how she tracked down sources and why it was important to talk to the scientists. It's a terrific note that encourages both budding naturalists and science writers of all ages. VERDICT An excellent purchase for STEM collections. Marie Drucker, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, NY
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
In the winter of 2013-2014, when snowy owls from the Arctic began appearing far south of their usual winter homes, scientists took advantage of a rare research opportunity. An unusually large irruption of snowy owls, seen in huge numbers in eastern Canada, New England, and the mid-Atlantic coast and as far south as Florida, spurred observers to develop new techniques to track and learn more about this Arctic species. One likely hypothesis for their sudden migration into unlikely areas is a population explosion caused by the unusually high lemming numbers the previous summer, which provided more food for hatchlings. Another points to strong southeasterly winds blowing them off course. Using leg bands and small GPS transmitters, scientists followed the movements of specific birds, discovering new facts about a bird not previously well-studied. Markle introduces the birds, the lemmings, and the science in lively, clear prose organized into chapters profusely illustrated with well-captioned photographs. With long experience in explaining the natural world to young readers, she deftly chooses information that will be of particular interest and provides the necessary background. Separate sections explain lemming population booms, differences between male and female owls, tundra, and owl feeding habits. A map shows the travels of several birds, including a "star reporter" named Baltimore. Appealing design adds further value to this dramatic demonstration of science in progress. (author's note, sources, glossary, resources, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal Starred Review (12/1/17)
ALA Booklist (12/1/17)
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Word Count: 4,290
Reading Level: 6.6
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.6 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 193858 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 1080L
Guided Reading Level: W
Fountas & Pinnell: W

Late in 2013, snowy owls started showing up in places no one expected to find them--including Florida. What had caused so many of these majestic birds to leave their Arctic home and fly to southern Canada and the United States? Scientists quickly began working to find out. Author Sandra Markle brings together firsthand reports from the scientists involved along with stunning photographs of the owls to explain this rare event, known as an irruption. Follow along as scientists figure out why snowy owls took part in this unusual migration and discover what they learned from the unexpected opportunity to study them up close.

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