Snowy owls are beautiful arctic creatures that inhabit Alaska, Canada, and parts of the Northern U.S, Asia, and Europe. They are among the heaviest owl species due to their feathers, which insulate them from the cold. The white plumage helps them camouflage in the snow. Unlike most owls that hunt exclusively at night, snowy owls are diurnal, meaning that they hunt during the day, with a focus on being active from dawn to dusk. Yellow eyes appear only on owls who are diurnal, whereas owls with brown or black eyes prefer to hunt at night.
It is an amazing sight to behold for those lucky enough to witness a Snowy owl perched or nesting on the ground or in flight. This beautiful bird has excellent eyesight, but they also rely on their hearing to catch a meal, which includes such delicacies as lemmings, other small rodents, rabbits, birds, and fish. While in flight and low to the ground, they spot their meal and swoop in to snatch it using their sharp talons. Snowy owls mate for life and adapt to the availability of food, laying more eggs when food is bountiful and less when it is not. Though still cared for when young, newly born owls leave the nest less than a month after they hatch and learn to fly well by about six weeks of age.
Snowy owls are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; thus, it is illegal to harm or own them. Today, there are many organizations that allow people to “adopt” snowy owls to help them thrive in the wild. Though they are not endangered or threatened in the U.S., gift/donations ultimately benefit the species, which has been experiencing some issues purportedly related to climate change, such as loss of habitat and declines in their foraging bases. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value. Conservation means development as much as it does protection.”