[Tweeters] Snowing Owls Point of Information

Bob Sundstrom ixoreus at scattercreek.com
Wed Nov 15 18:36:44 PST 2017

I’m not sure we’re getting the full picture on when Snowy Owls actively hunt. This passage from the Birds of North America online account gives a more complete view:

“Hunts any time of day, except in severe weather conditions. Foraging activity is dictated by individual hunger, season and, if breeding, by the nutritional demands of the incubating female and nestlings. When hunting individually, individuals appear to prefer evening into darkness and early mornings. During 24 h of Arctic light, appears to hunt more actively during theoretical night (DWH). Less is known about nocturnal hunting, but during the Arctic winter the birds must hunt in the dark and winter observations using night vision equipment clearly show an active nocturnal hunting period (N. Smith, pers. comm.). See also Manniche (1910) and Watson (1957).”

In my own experience watching Snowy Owls in the NW over 30+ years, I’ve seen them most active after sunset, making short flights from day roosts. Have also seen one tearing apart a gull in mid-morning.

Good birding, Bob Sundstrom

Sent from my iPhone

> On Nov 15, 2017, at 5:58 PM, ray holden <rayleeholden at yahoo.com> wrote:


> Like everyone else I'll excited to hear that we are having a visitation from the North other than Santa and hope some may find their way to the south sound or Gray's Harbor area.


> Snowy owls are not nocturnal they are diurnal otherwise they wouldn't be able to eat in the nightless arctic summer. When you see them they will be active and seem to take cat like naps but you aren't keeping them awake or keeping them from hunting. During the last big outbreak and the following year echo the owls at Damon Pt. Ocean Shores were visited by hundreds of people, dozens a day even, and yet the flock stayed steady for the whole winter. Dead gulls and ducks on the beach testified that they were getting plenty to eat despite our human curiosity.


> For the best views take a scope or ask another birder to use theirs. I've never had anyone say no. Most people who got too close were trying to take pictures with dinky cameras or cell phone cameras and I think that generally they weren't birders who would ever read this anyway. For good pics that don't get too close you need a superzoom or a long lens DSLR and tripod.


> I sincerely hope to see another owl or two this year. With a roughly 7 year breakout cycle you never know when will be your last time.




> Ray Holden

> Olympia, WA


> Life is for the birds.

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