Websites let bird watchers know where snowy owls have been sighted near St. Louis, Missouri. (AP)

Websites let bird watchers know where snowy owls have been sighted near St. Louis, Missouri. (AP)

Snowy owls usually don’t migrate as far into the United States as they did during the 2017-18 winter. (AP)

Snowy owls usually don’t migrate as far into the United States as they did during the 2017-18 winter. (AP)

Denver Holt, founder of the Owl Research Institute, scans the Montana landscape for snowy owls. (AP)

Denver Holt, founder of the Owl Research Institute, scans the Montana landscape for snowy owls. (AP)

Out of Place Animals? No Worries.

Posted: March 5, 2018

Have you ever seen a polar bear or an Arctic fox walking down Main Street in your town? Probably not! That’s part of the reason people love snowy owls. It’s not every day the Arctic shows up in your backyard!

At first, people thought snowy owl irruptions meant serious trouble for the owls. They thought the owls had come south because they ran out of food. Really, the exact opposite was true. The snowy owl population increased and eventually flew south because the birds had lots of food to spare! After studying the visiting snowy owls, researchers have learned that many of them seem fat and happy.

A good supply of food accounts for the unusual range in some years. (AP)

A good supply of food accounts for the unusual range in some years. (AP)

People can get anxious when they find animals “out of place.” When they suddenly see snowy owls hanging out at airports, they think, “What’s going wrong?!” But new migration patterns don’t always mean there’s a problem. God didn’t make the world and its creatures entirely unchanging.

Climate patterns come and go. As years, decades, centuries, and millennia pass, the world changes. Volcanoes erupt. Glaciers form and melt. Floods alter a place’s landscape and rivers change course. Forests spread or shrink. As environments shift, animals become different too—in small ways that make it easier for them to survive. (They don’t change in big ways that make them into totally new kinds of animals.) God has promised that the seasons will last as long as the world does. No changes happen outside His plan!

“While the Earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” ― Genesis 8:22