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Bethany Brookshire

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Scientists Say: Irruption

There’s a word for when we see bird species out of their normal range

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snowy owl

Some winters, birders in the United States get to see snowy owls far outside their normal range. These birds have irrupted. 

Chuck Homler d/b/a Focus On Wildlife/Wikimedia Commons


Irruption (noun, “ear-RUPT-shun”, verb “to irrupt”)

The word for when a group of organisms suddenly increases in number. This could mean that a population of animals has bred rapidly. It could also mean that a species is being seen where it is not usually found.

In a sentence

There may be a winter irruption of songbirds farther south than usual if seed crops in the north can’t support their numbers.

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Power Words

(for more about Power Words, click here)

irruption   (v: to irrupt)  A sudden increase in a population. This may mean a larger number of animals in their usual geographical range, or a population observed far away from where they are normally seen

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