|Snowy Owl at Smithville Lake 12/2011. Courtesy Missouri Dept. of Conservation|
As carnivores, snowy owls tend to move whenever food becomes scarce. Their primary food source in the Arctic is the lemming, an animal that is notorious for experiencing huge population booms and declines every four years. Missouri conservationists believe that this southward migration has to do with a lemming population crash in the north, as snowy owls haven’t been seen in this area in several years.