Snowy Owl Invasion!: Tracking an Unusual Migration
by Sandra Markle
Millbrook Press, 2018
I recently read an interesting article in the local newspaper about how a high number of snowy owl sightings in Maine have caused problems at the Portland Jetport. Bird watchers aiming to catch a glimpse of the birds are blocking emergency entrances as well as scaring birds into the paths of airplanes.
Sandra Markle's latest high interest science picture book examines the topic of snowy owls and their changing migration patterns. Markle is a pro at using inquiry and questions to draw readers into the story. The first chapter focuses on the Arctic habitat of the snowy owl. In recent years snowy owls have been seen in Canada and the U.S. (as far south as Florida). What has caused them to migrate so far south? Markle interviewed scientists when she was researching the book, and the scientists pose several theories about why snowy owls have migrated south. Each two-page spread is made up of stunning photographs of snowy owls in the wild along with detailed captions. One of the most impressive photographs captures a bird in flight with mottled wings spread.
Readers will also learn about lemmings, the favorite food of the snowy owl, and how the lemming population has exploded over the past few years. Markle effectively introduces new science terms to children and explains the meanings of the words in the context of the story. Irruption is a key word in the book, when animals are found in areas where they normally do not live. There is just the right amount of text on each page so that upper elementary readers will not be overwhelmed when reading independently. The length of the book and high interest subject make this an excellent read aloud for an upper elementary or middle school science class. The end of the book focuses on a bird banding project that is tracking a dozen snowy owls. Maps are used to convey information about the flight patterns of these birds.
Snowy Owl Invasion! is a strong addition to a school or public library and is a wonderful companion to Markle's other nonfiction mysteries:
The Search for Olinguito
The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bat
The Great Monkey Rescue
The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs
Visit the publisher's site to view pages from the book.