Snowy owls have been making trips that take them 3,000 miles from their usual habitat in the Arctic Circle, flying as far south as Florida -- and it's put the magnificent creatures in danger.
Many are found at airports, whose wide-open spaces resemble the Arctic tundra.
The most popular theory for why the birds have flown south is that a spike in their population last season outpaced their food supply.Read more: Who? Where? Snowy owls flock south
This owl spent almost two months being rehabilitated at a Rhode Island nature center after running into a wire at an airport.
Spreading its wings
Weighting 5 pounds with a 5-foot wingspan, the snowy owl is the largest owl in North America.
Wildlife caretakers at the Born to Be Wild Nature Center in Bradford, R.I., released the bird in Westerly, R.I.
Majestic birdMany experts are stumped as to why the snowy owl has flown so far south.
Duck huntingA snowy owl hunts ducks off Newport, R.I.
The owl, photographed by Peter Paton, professor of wildlife and conservation biology at the University of Rhode Island, prowls for prey.
Taking flightThe snowy owls' mysterious migration have made it one of the best winters ever for birdwatchers in the Northeast.
Ready to fly
Norman Smith, a director of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and his granddaughter release an owl Smith caught at Logan Airport. He usually catches six there each winter, but this winter, he has caught more than 50.