Snowy Owl

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Timber Wolf Black Bear Snowy Owl 

        Snowy Owls

  (Nyctea scandiaca)

AVERAGE SIZE: 24”

DIET: Primarily lemmings; in southern areas rabbits, waterfowl and
other small rodents.

WING SPAN: 4’7”

The Snowy Owl is a beautiful, majestic Bird of Prey. It is one of the most
recognized birds to visit Michigan in the winter - they actually fly south
from Northern Canada and Alaska in October and November, then fly back
north in March and April - just as it starts to warm up. Only the males will
be completely white, the females are generally larger, but their feathers
are white with dark spotting or barring. These large white, tuftless owls
are found primarily in wide open inland spaces - this includes farmlands,
marshlands and even airports! Any of these habitats in Michigan resemble
their northern tundra homes.

Being a bird of open land, some of their favorite resting spots are on the
ground, a lamp post, or a rooftop; they hardly ever sit up in a tree. In their
breeding grounds, found far north, the lemming are their primary food
source. When the lemming population is on a decline in the tundra, the
snowy owl flies further south to supplement their hunger. This leads to an
occasional influx in the number of birds in Michigan, in fact studies have
shown that this happens every 4 -5 years. the most recent invasion
happened during the winter of 1991-92. More than 100 owls were reported
seen from over half of Michigan’s 83 counties!

Breeding areas are in Alaska and the northernmost parts of Canada, 5-8
eggs are laid on a lining of feathers, moss and lichens placed on open
tundra. They do not build a nest in a tree. The majority of snowy owls seen
in Michigan are younger ones, they generally fly further south than the
mature ones. Immature birds have a browner appearance due to the dark
bars and spots found on their white feathers.