Snowy Owl “irruption”

Snowy owls are not uncommon in Massachusetts as a few are reported each winter.  In some years the population grows substantially, these are “irruption years” and this year is one of them.

The Snowy owl is a northern bird that lives and breeds in the open arctic tundra and is highly adapted to extreme cold conditions.  Those years where their food supplies are diminished they will fly further south in search of food.  In the early spring they will head back north though some have been seen even in the early summer.  The male is nearly all white while the female will have dark barred makings.

The owls are a very strong muscular breed and are formidable predators.  They will not hesitate to go after and kill hares and are partial to ducks.  Ducks have a high fat content that the snowy owls need for insulation.

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4 Comments

  1. Mike Dooley January 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    Beautiful shot Shiv, and a nice writeup!

  2. Abby Krim January 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    I wish I took that photo. Piercing eyes, 180 head turn. Beautiful!

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