"LAKE ANDES, S.D. (AP) — Famous for its role as Harry Potter's companion in the books and movies, a species of majestic, mostly white owls is being sighted in abundant numbers this winter far from both Hogwarts and its native Arctic habitat.
It's typical for snowy owls to arrive in the U.S. every three or four winters, but this year's irruption is widespread, with birders from the Pacific Northwest to New England reporting frequent sightings of the yellow-eyed birds. As many as 30 were spotted in December around South Dakota's Lake Andes.
"Thirty in one area, that's mind numbing," said Mark Robbins, an ornithologist with the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute."