Ukpik means snowy owl in Inuktitut.
Snowy owls, like Arctic foxes, ermine, hawks and falcons, depend heavily on lemmings for food. When lemming hunting is good, it's very good; and when lemming hunting is bad, it's very bad. In good lemming years, predators can find up to 50 lemmings per acre; while in bad lemming years, there might be only one single lemming for every ten acres--and that's just not enough to go around. While some lemming eaters starve to death in the slim years, many snowy owls, who normally winter in the Arctic, fly south to look for better odds of survival. Every few years, these spectacular white owls can be spotted as far south as the central United States.
Greer: The Chicago Zoological Society. Used with permission.
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