It's widely understood that owls come south during the winter if they are facing a food shortage, when the lemming populations crash. So some winters they may be here and others not. But recently I read a blog post by David at Travels With Birds reporting on research that suggests the opposite - during years of abundant lemming populations, the owls can raise as many as 7 or 8 young, and the young disperse widely seeking their own territories. At any rate, it seems very special to see one down here in the winter. This is only the third year I've ever seen one.