You have probably heard of Snowy Owls, but probably not have actually seen them up close if you live in Oregon as I do. You can tell them from their easily recognizable white bodies and yellow eyes. They look like a blanket covered with snow. The female looks just like the male except for the female is covered with black specks, the only part without black spots is her face and chest. The male Snowy Owl is almost completely white but has small and few brown specks on his wings.
Some people may think that there are very few Snowy Owls in the world which isn’t true because they are less threatened than Spotted Owls which we see more of. The reason some may think that there are few Snowy Owls is because they live in the Arctic Tundra and prefer snowy climates. They rarely come and visit Oregon, but you may find a few flying. You may see them in centers that rescue birds. I saw my first Snowy Owl a year and a half ago in the Cascades Raptor Center in Oregon. The Cascades Raptor Center is a place where they take in wounded raptors such as Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Screech Owls, and more. The link at the end of the post will take you to the Cascades Raptor Center’s website.
Most owls perch and nest in trees but Snowy owls prefer to perch on posts or on the ground in areas with less trees, and in grasslands. They will sit or perch there for hours on end.
Nesting and Nestlings:
Unlike salmon, Snowy Owls mate for life, laying 3-11 eggs at a time. The male chooses the general territory for the nest but the female chooses the site within the territory to build the nest. They nest in the ground having white eggs that have an incubation period of 32 days. Then when they hatch, like most nestlings, are covered with soft downy. Getting older, the nestlings’ downy are replaced with new feathers which are brown. Though they can fly well a month and a half after being hatched, they stay with their mother for another ten weeks.
Being a bird of prey / carnivore, the Snowy Owl will eat rodents, small birds, small mammals, rabbits, and fish. They hunt for these creatures at night and sleep during the day. When hunting, they soar low to the ground, dive down and snatch his or her prey. They are very agile when it comes to catching small birds and waterfowl that are flying.
If you have any questions about the Snowy Owl, comment and I can give you more facts and some other websites that are helpful.
Click the link to go to the Cascades Raptor Center website: http://eraptors.org/