The snowy owl lives in the harsh Arctic climates of North America and Eurasia. In the winter months, they migrate southward to Canada, the United States, Russia and China. This beautiful white bird’s scientific name is Bubo scandiacus, as it was first discovered in the Scandinavian countries of Europe.
- Snowy owls have thick feathers on their feet to keep them warm.
- Males and females are distinguished by the degree of dark patterns on their feathers. Female snowy owls can weigh more than male birds.
- Their eyes are encircled with feathers which help channel sounds to their ears.
- Every year, the snowy owl replaces its feathers over a period of three months with new feathers.
- Snowy owls are diurnal (active during the day) rather than nocturnal (active during the night) like most owls. This is because there is daylight for 24 hours during the summer months where they live.
- They are carnivores and hunt small mammals and birds such as rabbits, sea birds and mice. Snowy owls can efficiently catch their prey in the air and while flying over the ground and water. They eat snow from the ground when they get thirsty.
- Their predators are wolves, Arctic foxes and other big birds.
- Snowy owls can live up to 10 years in nature and for about 35 years in captivity.
- Snowmelt, accidents with vehicles and illegal hunting are leading to a decline in the snowy owl population. As a result, the snowy owl is listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.