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Snowy Owl

About Snowy Owl

The male is a large snow-white owl with brownish bars and spots near tips of feathers on wings and tail; underparts faintly barred with very pale brown. The female has much heavier, darker bars and spots. Legs and feet heavily feathered. Blackish-brown bill; yellow eyes.

The female makes the nest in the spring by making a scrape on the ground among mosses or stones, sometimes it will be lined with moss and feathers. The female will lay 4-10 white eggs, depending on how much prey there is. The female will incubate the eggs for 32-37 days. The chicks are taken care of by the female at first while the male brings food.

This owl is insulated from the cold by its thick plumage and feathered feet. The snowy owl will spend all year hunting on the icy tundra of the high Arctic. In the summer it will hunt 24 hours a day by sight as there is little to no nighttime. It will perch on rocks or other high spots looking for prey. In the darkness of the Arctic, it relies on its ears to hear lemmings scurrying through their runs under the snow. Lemmings are their main prey. When the lemming population rises, snowy owls make the most of this by laying extra large clutches of eggs, and rearing as many young as they can. But these booms are followed by population crashes, and the snowy owls scatter across the tundra, sometimes even leaving the tundra altogether during the winter months.