She had been spotted the day before, way out on the farthest breakwall, but the drive to eat brought her inland to hunt. These owls do visit Oswego each year as they travel along the lake from Canada. Finding one is extremely exciting and fortunate.
Male or female, how do you tell the difference? Females have moderate black barring on their feathers and heads, whilst males are almost all white, heavily black barring on the head and feathers indicate a juvenile of either sex.
Snowy owls are diurnal—they are active both day and night. Snowy owls are the heaviest owls in North America. They are fast and fierce enough to knock a grown man down and can endure temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero.
Whether the tundra or the Great Plains, an airport field or beach dunes, Snowy Owls like treeless places and wide-open spaces. Because they often sit right on the ground to hunt, they prefer rolling terrain where they can find a vantage to survey the surrounding area. On their wintering grounds they’ll also perch atop a fence post, hay bale, building, telephone pole, grain elevator—anywhere with a good view!
Mary Woods is a volunteer photographer at iHeartOswego, our resident birder and Audubon enthusiast.