Call it the year of the snowy owl.
In just the past month, the powdery white Arctic creatures have been spotted much farther afield than their usual habitats, with bird-watchers in the Northeast reporting the most snowy owl sightings in recent memory.
So it comes as no surprise that record numbers of the birds have arrived at Northeast airports, snowy owls’ preferred proxy for the Arctic tundra. And as aviation officials grapple with the risks posed by the owls, New York’s airports are now taking a cue from Logan International Airport and catching and releasing the birds, rather than shooting them.
JFK Airport made headlines Sunday when it was revealed that officials had ordered staff to shoot snowy owls on sight after five of the birds flew into airplanes at New York-area airports in the past two weeks. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.