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Are we going to have an irruption this winter? In the past (and maybe still present) some believe that the irruption is due to food shortages up north, but according to Noah Strycker in his book " The Thing With Feathers" the 2012 irruption was not caused by a shortage of lemmings. Quite the contrary, there was an abundance of lemmings and owls raised as many as 7-8 chicks instead of two. So the owls found themselves jostling for space, i.e., they move around a lot.