A rare visitor from the arctic, the snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus), has settled in for the 2014-2015 winter at the BLM Oregon’s West Eugene Wetlands.
Standing at nearly 2 feet tall and weighing about 4 pounds, these captivating white birds are the heaviest owls found in North America. They exhibit an irregular type of migration called “irruption,” where large numbers head south every couple of years for reasons that remain a mystery. Birding enthusiasts hoping to catch a glimpse of the owls should search for them during the day when they are active.
These photos of the snowy owl on the bank of Fern Ridge Reservoir were taken by Jen Moss.
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October 26, 2014 - Snowy Owl, Arctic owl, or Great White owl (Bubo scandiacus)
Requested by: io-kj
Found in the north of the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, Snowy Owls are the heaviest of North American owls. They eat mostly mammals, especially lemmings. Their population tends to grow along with the lemming population, the increase in food allowing them to raise double or triple their usual number of chicks. Unlike many owls, they are diurnal, hunting mostly during the day. Snowy owls get whiter as they age. Some males become almost completely white, while females tend to have darker patterning and always retain some of it.
It’s snowing in the Chicago area again today, which probably makes this guy pretty happy. He (or she) is one of the dozens of snowy owls making Chicagoland their winter home for the second year in a row. This particular photo was shot in December 2013 in Montrose Harbor right on Lake Michigan. It comes courtesy of the Chicago Sun Times’ “Wild of the Week” column by Dale Bowman.