Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl
The snowy owl is a large species of owls found in the tundra of Alaska, Canada, Europe and Asia. They are the largest owl species, by weight, in North America and slightly smaller then the Eurasian eagle owls that are found through out much of Europe and Asia.
Snowy Owl
Snowy owls are white with varying amounts of black mixed in. Males are typically mostly white while females and young birds have more of a black and white mottling. The bird in the top photo appears to be a young bird while the one in the photo above is probably a mature male.
Snowy Owl
Snowy owls have thick feathers that completely their body including their feet and toes. This provides insulation that allows them to survive on their territory in the tundra year round. Unlike most species of owls snowies are primarily diurnal, active during the daytime. They eat rodents, primarily lemmings, and some birds, such as ptarmigan.
Snowy Owl
Occasionally during the winter there is a shortage of prey. This can be due to a crash in the prey base or a very successful year of raising young which increases the population. When this happens snowies may migrate south in search of food. Typically these are young birds who do not yet have an established teritory. Here in Minnesota we see snowy invasions every three to five years. When they come south the most common place that we see them is at the airport. The airport is similar to their natural habitat on the tundra. It is large and flat and usually has a good amount of rodents for the owls to hunt. As you can see by the above photo the planes do not seem to bother them much.

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55 comments:

Norma Ruttan said...

I love the pure look of the Snowy Owl! I don't always comment, but I do love your photos of birds.

Along These Lines ... said...

Beautiful bird!

Roger Owen Green said...

seriously handsome creature.

Leslie: said...

Snowy owls have come down to my neighbourhood for the past two years and we've gone to see them. I managed a few photos, but not good ones. Maybe this year.

Leslie
abcw team

Hildred said...

Beautiful birds. I thought for a minute it was a bad year up north and the lovely chap was waiting for a lift at the airport, but upon reading your post I realize that was rather frivolous and he had a much more serious reason for being there.

Dave said...

This is just not fair .....

Jealous beyond words.

Obsessivemom said...

What lovely birds! Somehow owls always remind me of Harry Potter. It'd be great to have one as a pet.

bailey-road.com said...

What a beauty!

Kathie Brown said...

Wow! great shots! I got to see them several times during the outbreak of 2011 in Massachusetts. I saw them at Salisbury Beach and Plum Island. I never thought I would ever see one. they are so amazing! I am so glad that I was wrong!

Gail Dixon said...

Lucky you! Gorgeous bird and wonderful shots.

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi What a magnificent bird, great shots especially thre flight one

Andrea said...

It would sure bother me to be that close to a landing (or departing)plane. What is in their natural environment that would desensitize them to this large intruder? They are indeed beautiful. We had them on the Lake Michigan beaches last year, but I was unable to go out to get pictures. I won't let that happen again ... If I hear they are here, I will be out there looking. This is a beautiful post ...

Andrea @ From the Sol

The happy wanderer. said...

An interesting post with nice photos. If there were birds in your area this year, does this mean that there are unlikely to be birds south of usual this year?

Our photos said...

Beautiful photos of the Snow Owl.
Greetings from Holland

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Wow!!! Fantastic photos of this owl, which is one of my favorites! You are so lucky to have them migrate your way every few years. And it's amazing how they adapt to their surroundings. We have an overpopulation of deer here in CT, due to no/few predators, and sometimes one sees them standing within feet of the edge of the highway, grazing while cars fly by at speeds of 60 mph and higher.

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Cath.H.C Photography said...

Ces images sont d'une beauté magnifique!
Very nice post!
Thanks & Welcome for your comment and your next visit to my blogs.
Have a nice day! Cath.

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Beautiful bird and photos - one of my favourites - I recently purchased two photos from an artist at our Farmer's Market and had them framed. My new favourite pictures!

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...


Beautiful pictures. There could be a bit of an irruption in the mid-Atlantic region this year! Some have been spotted on the NJ coast and just heard today of a Snowy Owl sighted on Assateague Island on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Keep your eyes open!!

Kate said...

Exquisite photos of a beautiful bird. I've never seen one here in St. Paul. Guess I'll have to make a trip to the airport.

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