A snowy owl will live out the entire course of its life in the open artic in most cases, while others will migrate out of the arctic tundra. They will hunt, eat, mate, reproduce, and die where they reside. The largest bird in the artic, by a weight of up to six pounds, the snowy owl stands roughly two feet tall (National Georaphic). The snowy owl is a fearless hunter and strong protector. The snowy owls are diurnal, hunting mainly during the day unlike most species of owls that tend to be nocturnal. They mainly live in isolated and remote regions of the greater north; this protects them from human interaction. Snowy owls are immensely protective over their home, hunting grounds, and offspring. They fight off any dangers that may come their way with fierce determination. They glide over the icy arctic tundra, night or day, with a wing span of up to 4.8 feet. The beautiful snowy owl survives the unforgiving artic winters as a patient and fearless hunter, doing many wonderful things to survive this harsh environment.
Snowy owls are mainly white with brown spots or markings. The females have more markings then the males, which are almost completely white by adulthood. The young snowy owls are darker and have more markings than the adults. Their feet and legs are covered in small white feather to protect them from the extreme cold of the arctic (The Alaska Zoo). An average adult snowy owl will grow to a length of 24 inches and can weigh up to six and a half pounds (National Georaphic). The male snowy owl will court the female with land and air arrangements. The male will fly high up in the air, intensifying his wing beats while rolling and waving in the sky. Holding a lemming or other small animal in his talons or his beak, the male will descend toward the female flapping his wings or holding them in a “V” shape (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology). The male snowy owl drops the prey on the ground, standing tall with wings out. He drops his head low and fans his tail, waiting for the female to approach (The Alaska Zoo). In the months of May and September the snowy owl will lay a clutch of three to eleven white eggs. The number of eggs in a clutch is determined by the amount of prey in the snowy owls hunting grounds. If the food supply is too scarce the owls will not produce any eggs that year (National Georaphic). The male claims territory by scouting out a safe place for the female to construct a nest and will fight off or drive away and dangers that may be in the surrounding area. The female then choses a nest site to lay her eggs in which she has a clear view of the land around her. The female snowy owl builds a nest by digging or scrapping a hole in the bare ground with her talons, not lining the nest, but leaving it bare (National Georaphic). The gestation period of the clutch lasts around 33 days. The female stays with the clutch and nurtures them by herself. The female snowy owl oversees the brood of young by supplementing food supplied by the male. The young are covered in dark brown feathers, which will lighten as they age and the males become fully white (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2007). Both male and female hunt and feed the young. The young snowy owls will leave the nest around 25 days after they hatch, but the parents will feed their young for approximately five weeks after birth (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology). As a parent, the snowy owl will protect their nest and young from any intruder. They have been known to fight off humans and wolves when one encroaches upon their territory or comes too close to their offspring. After five to seven weeks the young snowy owls begin to hunt and feed themselves (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology). The snowy owls are monogamous and many will not seek out another mate if theirs should pass away. The snowy owl has an average life span of ten years in the wild and 28 years while in captivity. The male snowy owl hoots more...
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Miller, C. (1999). Snowy Owls - Super Owls. National Wildlife Federation.
National Georaphic. (n.d.). snowy owl. Retrieved October 2012, from national geographic: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/snowy-owl/
Snowy Owl. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2012, from All About Birds: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Snowy_Owl/lifehistory
The Alaska Zoo. (n.d.). Snowy owl. Retrieved October 2012, from The Alaska Zoo: http://www.alaskazoo.org/snowy-owl
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. (2007). Snowy owls. Retrieved November 28, 2012, from All about Birds: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/owlp/snowy
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. (n.d.). Snowy owl. Retrieved Octobor 2012, from All about Birds: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Snowy_Owl/id
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. (n.d.). Snowy Owl. Retrieved October 2012, from All about Birds: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Snowy_Owl/lifehistory
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