|Copyright: Sue Rickhuss (snaphappy)
|Date Taken: 2007-08-16|
|Exposure: f/7.1, 1/500 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2007-08-18 1:39|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Size: Length 51-68.5 cm (20-27") average female 66cm (26" inches), male 59cm (23")|
Wingspan 137-164cm (54-65")
Weight 1134-2000g (40-70oz) average female 1707g (60oz), male 1612g (57oz)
Habits: Snowy Owls are active during the daytime, from dawn to dusk. They have a direct, strong, and steady flight with deliberate, powerful down strokes and quick upstrokes. They make short flights, close to the ground, from perch to perch, and usually perches on the ground or a low post. During hot weather, they can thermo regulate by panting and spreading their wings. Snowy Owls are very aggressive when defending their nest.
Voice: The Snowy Owl is virtually silent during non breeding seasons. The typical call of the male is a loud, harsh, grating bark, while the female has a similar higher pitched call. During the breeding season males have a loud, booming "hoo, hoo" given as a territorial advertisement or mating call. Females rarely hoot. Its attack call is a guttural "krufff-guh-guh-guk". When excited it may emit a loud "hooo-uh, hooo-uh, hooo-uh, wuh-wuh-wuh". Other sounds are dog-like barks, rattling cackles, shrieks, hissing, and bill-snapping.
Nestling "cheep" up to 2 weeks of age, then hiss and squeal.
Hunting & Food: Most hunting is done in the "sit and wait" style. These Owls are highly diurnal, although they may hunt at night as well. Prey are captured on the ground, in the air, or snatched off the surface of water bodies. When taking snowshoe hares, a Snowy Owl will sink its talons into the back and back flap until the hare is exhausted. The Owl will then breaks its neck with its beak. Snowy Owls have been known to raid trap lines for trapped animals and bait, and will learn to follow trap lines regularly. They also snatch fish with their talons. Small prey up to small hares are swallowed whole, while larger prey are carried away and torn into large chunks. Small young are fed boneless and furness pieces. Large prey are carried of in the Owl's talons, with prey like lemmings being carried in the beak.
Snowy Owls are mainly dependent on lemmings and voles throughout most of their Arctic and wintering range. When these prey are scarce they are an opportunistic feeder and will take a wide range of small mammals and birds. Some mammal prey include mice, hares, muskrats, marmots, squirrels, rabbits, prairie dogs, rats, moles, and entrapped furbearers. Birds include ptarmigan, ducks, geese, shorebirds, Ring-necked Pheasants, grouse, American coots, grebes, gulls, songbirds, and Short-eared Owls. Snowy Owls will also take fish and carrion.
Some nesting Owls switch from lemmings and voles to young ptarmigan when they become available. Snowy Owls do not hunt near their nests, so other birds, such as Snow Geese, often nest nearby to take advantage of the Owls driving off predators such as foxes.
Snowy Owls produce large, rough-looking cylindrical pellets with numerous bones, feathers, and fur showing. They are usually expelled at traditional roosting sites and large numbers of pellets can be found in one spot. When large prey are eaten in small pieces with little roughage, pellets will not be produced.
alas this was photographed in captivity.
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