All Weather News

Inauguration Day Distraction– Snowy Owl Facts and Photos

20 Jan 2017, 7:10 am

It’s Friday January 20th and that means the entire country, and world for that matter has its eyes on the inauguration. While my colleagues and I continue to bring you the latest on the severe weather threat in the Southern U.S. and even more snow out West, I thought our website might need a bit of a distraction from the doom and gloom side of things!

Snowy Owl

That right there is a beautiful Snowy Owl. (The beautiful part of that is not just an opinion, it’s a fact) A beautiful female Snowy Owl to be exact. Males are typically almost entirely white, while females have the darker splashes of color throughout their foliage. Which could be for camouflage during nesting because females stay with the eggs and owlets while the males take care of the hunting.

Stats

  • The Snowy Owl is the heaviest owl weighing 3.5 to 6.6 lbs.
  • Fully grown Snowy Owls stand between 20 and 28 inches tall
  • Outstretched a Snowy Owl’s wingspan measures between 49 and 59 inches
  • Average lifespan of 9.5 years

For reference, that is about 70% the size of a Bald Eagle, and a lifespan of about half that of the eagle.

Female Snowy Owl in Michigan

A truly rare sight!A female Snowy Owl, native to the Arctic Tundra, basking in the warmth across Michigan.

Posted by WeatherNation on Friday, January 20, 2017

Habitat

Snowy Owls nest and spend summers in the Arctic Tundra.
The ideal habitat is one of barren landscape such as the tundra. Open dunes or prairies are southern favorites of these ground-nesters.
Although the tundra is their preferred habitat, Snowy Owls are known to be nomadic, traveling thousands of miles in search of a reliable food source! During winter months Snowy Owls have been reported as far south as the Gulf Coast. In one report, a ship 600 kilometers from the nearest landmass brought home a tired snowy owl that used the ship as a landing pad!

Diet

Contrary to what you might think, the Snowy Owl is active during both day and night making it diurnal!
If you stop and think about it, near 24 hour days during the summer in the tundra easily explain this fun fact.

The average Snowy Owl eats 1,600 lemmings each year! That’s between 3 and 5 each day.
But they don’t limit their diet to just that, they have been known to eat other rodents and migrant birds as well.

Like other owls they consumer their prey whole. Fur, bones, feathers, all of it! The powerful acids in the owl’s stomach break down the softer bits and the rest returns from whence it came.
That’s right! The owls regurgitate what is known as an owl pellet. One neat little pill with the full skeleton and other hard to digest pieces of the loser lemming.

The More You Know

Hopefully this helped distract you from everything else going on in the world for just a minute. But now that you are here, click around– there are some excellent articles detailing some of the crazy weather around the country written by my more focused coworkers.

And a huge thank you to  our viewers, Victor Hiltz and Douglas Kelley for sending in these amazing photos and video.
You can find Victor’s amazing photography by following him on Twitter @HiltzVictor36 and Doug’s work on Twitter @LISunChaser.

– Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

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