Brooklyn Bird Watch: Snowy Owl

The imperious Snowy Owl is one of the few birds that can attract even non-birders to come out for a look. The largest North American owl by weight, Snowy Owls appear in winter to hunt in windswept fields and shores. They usually spend summers far north of the Arctic Circle, hunting in 24-hour daylight. Spotting one in Floyd Bennett Field is a rare treat for birders.

Because the Arctic has so few trees, Snowy Owls are used to wide, open spaces. Usually, Snowy Owls are spotted in the middle of a field, or the middle of a pond, such as in this photo.

According to All About Birds, “Snowy Owls engage in east to west, high-latitude movements from Barrow to Russia, then from Barrow to Canada.” They also migrate south during the winter. Snowy Owls have been spotted as far south as Florida!

Snowy Owls are large birds. Their mass on average is 4.5 pounds and they can stand as tall as 23-26 inches high. Snowy Owls primarily eat voles and can eat up to 5,000 voles in a year.

It’s hard for scientists to know much about these birds. Their unique living conditions and wide range of migration make them difficult to study, but scientists are working hard to understand their breeding habits, eating habits, and other daily movements.

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