Observations from a week with the Snowy Owls

Since the Snowy Owl is distributed in the northern regions around the world and its diet is determined by the availability of food in the region it resides. On its breeding grounds in the far north lemming and voles are its major food source.

But there are other prey that is also common in its wintering grounds that we get to view these owls in. This list of foods taken includes small rodents such as mice, rats, hares, and various other mammals including rabbits. Various birds are also common which include pheasants, grouse, quail, dove, domestic poultry, and various water foul often including ducks, grebes and even medium sized geese.

The Snowy can locate prey strictly audibly and may plunge in the snow for visibly hidden rodents like voles. It usually hunts from an elevated position that can vary from a raised knoll to a treetop or telephone pole along the edge of a field.

It often makes long low flights to capture prey on the ground or birds from the water's surface or pursues them in the air and it can hover and pounce on prey from the air or while on the ground.

Over the last week here in Ontario we have witnessed snowys attempting to capture rabbits, various birds, including water fowl and a healthy variety of field mice and voles.

Each year we run workshops during January, February and the beginning of March. Please check out those workshops on our Canadian workshop page where our 2014 and 2015 dates are listed. Visit that page here. http://northof49photography.com/photo-workshops/

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Kevin A Pepper

Kevin is a photographer and educator based in Waterloo, Ontario. His first love is photographing nature, regardless of the season or weather condition; the Ontario landscape and its wildlife are his inspiration. But you will also see other styles of photography in his portfolio. From street photography to urban exploration of abandoned buildings and architecture, he loves to capture it all with his camera for his corporate clients and his growing personal portfolio. Kevin’s images have been featured in Canadian Nature Photographer, PHOTONews Canada, Photo Technique Magazine, The London Free Press, The Weather Network, and National Geographic Online. His diverse client list includes the City of Cambridge, Olympus, GORE Mutual, TVO, and African Lion Safari. Kevin also operates “Northof49 Photography”, a company launched in 2012 dedicated to teaching amateur photographers through International and Canadian-based workshops. In the coming year, Kevin will be leading workshops in Iceland, Mongolia, Tanzania, Venezuela, Provence, and numerous destinations across Canada. Website: www.northof49photography.com Blog: http://northof49photography.com/blog/