Are the snowy owls in trouble? Venture into the Alaskan arctic and the summer realm of these predator birds to find out. Discover the diverse species necessary to owl survival, how climate change is affecting the landscape of their nesting site of past millennia, and what it takes to do field research in this action-packed addition to the award-winning Scientists in the Field series.
It's July on Alaska's North Slope, and scientist Denver Holt is in Utqiagvik surveying nests. Denver has been coming here since 1992, and the snowy owls he studies have been coming here much longer: thousands of years.
With its mix of coastal, low-elevation tundra and a rich presence of lemmings, the North Slope is the only area in Alaska where snowy owls regularly nest. How do snowy owls decide where they will nest? How do they manage to arrive at locations where food will be abundant? What drives the success of these delicate tundra ecosystems? These are the mysteries Denver is trying to solve to help ensure a bright future for these elegant hunters.