Awe-ducational The Snowy Owl

The snowy owl lives in the Arctic near the North Pole, in a place called the tundra. The tundra is flat and treeless, and always cold. During the winter in the Arctic the nights are long, and the days are short, in some places it is dark all day and all night. A male snowy is nearly all white and the females have black spots, their feathers help them blend in with the drifting snow of the tundra. Furthermore, their coat is windproof and waterproof, which is very important for survival in the Arctic. 


When a female snowy lay her eggs, she will sit on them for about a month to keep them warm. Meanwhile, the male hunts to supply her with food, and keeps an eye out for danger. It is his job to protect the nest from animals, like foxes, who might want to eat the eggs. When the Owlet is born it is covered in a soft white fluff called down. After one week the white down is replaced with grey down, making the owlets look like there are covered in soot. As the babies grow older the mother is forced to also leave the nest in order to hunt to for food to feed the babies. By eight weeks old the babies are big enough to fly.  

Snowy owls spend summers in the Arctic tundra mating and hunting. Some stay in the Arctic all year. Others will migrate south during the winter to find areas with less competition for food. In 2013-14 there was a historic boom in the number of snowy owls that migrated south. Not only that, they also ventured further south than ever before. Through Canada deep into the United States, as far south as Georgia. One place that snowy owls tend to be found is at airports, likely because the large flat areas remind them of the tundra. However, this can be dangerous for both the owl and humans, and oftentimes owl experts are called in to remove the snowy owls from the area. 


If you want to learn more about owls, you can visit the juvenile non-fiction section at the Auburn Hills Public Library. Below are some books that you can check out on the topic.

Snowy Owld by Wendy Pfeffer Snowy Owls Hunters of the Snow and Ice by Elaine Landau
Owls by Fern Brown Snowy Owl Invasion by Sandra Markle