J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise is a pop culture phenomenon.It was there that Hedwig, the Snowy Owl, was introduced to the world. Hedwig was Harry Potter’s loyal friend, who ultimately sacrificed her life to save him.
Hedwig was amazing. She lived in a small cage. And only came out when Harry Potter needed her to perform heroic deeds. Remember Hedwig was magic.
The snowy owl is a brave bird. And has been known to drive predators away from their nests. But wild owls should never be caged and they aren’t meant to be pets.
How do you Recognize a Snowy Owl?
These are among the biggest, heaviest owls. And measure 53-65 cm in length with a wingspan of around 125-150 cm. They have rounded heads and yellow eyes. Their bulky bodies are covered in dense feathers, even on their legs.
Males are almost entirely white. The female has more flecks of black plumage. Snowy owls, at birth, are brown with scattered white tips on their feathers. The white color serves as camouflage during the icy, snowy northern winters.
Their courtship behavior generally begins in midwinter till March or April. The behavior of the male on the ground is showy. He preens, fluffs his feathers up and struts. He may even do a little dance involving fluttering his wings and barking. This owl tries hard to impress the females!
Snowy owls have an unusual voice. The male snowy owl makes a harsh bark-like sound. During mating season the sound is louder. The female Snowy owl has a high-pitched call.
Where Do You Find The Snowy Owl?
These beautiful snowy owls are winter natives of Greenland, Iceland, Canada and the Arctic areas of Northern America.
In summer they are more nomadic. They concentrate and nest in areas where they can feed on high populations of lemmings and other small rodents. They eat what is available. Sometimes they feed on birds as large as geese.
They are mainly spotted in open grassy areas and along shores of marshes, lakes, and coastlines. Many migrate to Canada in the Great Plains area around November. And they leave the area around March.
Feeding and Nesting Habits of the Snowy Owl
The diet of the snowy owl consists of small rodents including lemmings. These owls are diurnal hunters unlike other owls, the snowy owls are active and hunt both night and day.
The nest sites of the snowy owl are always near good hunting sites. They are also relatively free from snow. A pair of owls sometimes nest every year in the same location. The female snowy owl stays with her eggs while her male partner hunts for food. And he also drives off predators and guards the nest.
They can capture their prey both on the ground or in flight. They can even grab the prey out of surface waters. With the use of their beaks and talons they attack and break down their food.