Rare snowy owl spotted in Fayette County

CREDIT: Brad Adams, Humane Agent for the Fayette County Humane Society.

FAYETTE CO., OH (WCMH/AP) — Snowy owls have descended on the Great Lakes region and northeastern U.S. in huge numbers in recent weeks, to the delight of birdwatchers.

Fayette County Humane Agent Brad Adams snapped a photo of one of the majestic birds Tuesday, just west of Washington Courthouse. He shared a photo with NBC4’s Rick Reitzel.

This winter’s mass migration of the owls from their Arctic breeding grounds is serious business for researchers.

They’re trapping and fitting some of the visitors with tiny solar-powered transmitters to track them around the globe and study the long-misunderstood species whose numbers likely are far fewer than previously thought.

Researchers once believed there were about 300,000 snowy owls worldwide. Now they say it’s closer to 30,000, because of new information about where they nest and winter,

That doesn’t necessarily mean that snowy owls are in decline. But researchers want to know for sure.

They worry the birds’ long-term survival could be affected by global warming.

NBC4 reporter Rick Reitzel will have more on this story on NBC4 at 5pm. To get alerts for breaking news, grab the free NBC4 News App for iPhone or Android. You can also sign up for email alerts.

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