Owl Invasion Puzzles Hungarian Town
The quiet town of Turkeve in eastern Hungary has been witnessing an unusual invasion on its trees: eagle-owls.
The protected field eagle-owls are a rare occurrence in Hungary as their main territory is Scandinavia and Russia, and they rarely venture into eastern Hungary.
Residents of Turkeve say the most they’ve ever seen together was seven, but now more than 60 field eagle-owls are sitting on trees in the town center.
[Istvan Csaky, Local Resident]:
„I am in my 74th year and I have never seen so many owls in this town, ever. So many owls, well, well.“
Bird specialists, known as ornithologists, and nature photographers are flocking into the small town to observe the eagle-owls and say the gathering is something of a world sensation.
[Akos Monoki, Ornithologist]:
„It’s exceptional that so many field eagle-owls would appear in such mass, in such numbers in residential areas. I have consulted with several international experts across the world and they say it has not occurred anywhere else. The field eagle-owl may fly into residential areas if there’s been extreme weather with lots of snow but they stay in the outskirts. Such mass gathering inside residential areas is exceptional.“
The reason for the unusual owl behavior is not clear but experts say it’s probably not linked to other strange bird behavior around the world.
One explanation could be that the field eagle-owls are learning from the forest owls and when their safe places in the fields are snowed under or flooded they find a safe option in towns.
Others, however, are saying that such a process could be more gradual and doesn’t explain the sudden unusually high numbers. One thing is for sure – the owls are keeping locals and bird enthusiasts guessing about the forces of nature.