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ALPENA, Mich. — As we head into the second month of 2022, snowy owl sightings continue around the city. This morning, keen eyes may have spotted one at Alpena Community College.

2022 has been a great year for owl sightings so far, with people spotting these wintry birds of prey near the hospital and on their property. But why are we seeing so many more this year?

Michigan DNR biologist Karen Cleveland said it may have to do with a birdie baby boom.

“The best scientific explanation is that it was a good breeding year. So the number of young birds is swamping available food in the arctic. And that’s pushing other young birds further South for other sources of food.”

Cleveland said these young owls migrate more like eagles than geese and will likely fly home once the weather warms up. Snowy owls typically feed on rodents and smaller birds.

She says if you see one, keep your distance. These birds are already stressed, and getting in their space can stress them out even more. Cleveland says a good rule of thumb when taking pictures is to stop and back up if you see them reacting to you