Interesting Facts About Snowy Owls

Recent studies are full of interesting facts about nomadic birds – snowy owls. The discovery of new information about snowy owls is always of interest to researchers and bird enthusiasts. A recent report shows more than 300,000 snowy owls live on Earth. Their numbers vary each year due to the rise and fall of different factors.

These magnificent snowy birds are guardians of Arctic night. Have you noticed snowy owls do not move their eyeballs like other birds or humans? Their piercing gaze can remain fixed in one place. They need to move their heads to see left, right, front, and back by keeping their eyeballs fixed in a steadfast position. Simply put, their eyeballs are not “true eyeballs“.

snowy owl facts

Thus, snowy owls are wild birds with mind-blowing and interesting facts. Whenever we talk about snowy owls, our curiosity touches the ninth sky. There are a lot of myths associated with Bubo Scandiacus. We are going to clear all the facts in this article today. Let’s follow the blueprint of this article and prepare to be amazed!

17 Mind-Blowing Facts About Snowy Owls

cool facts about snowy owls

Here are a few top-listed facts about snowy owls that will blow your mind: ~ Source

01. Host Species

There are many other animals and species that benefit from snowy owls. They nest near the nests of snowy owls to get protection. Let’s take the best example of greater snow geese and lesser snow geese. These are the bird species that nest near the territories of snowy owls to protect themselves from predators. ~ Source

02. Egg Parameters

According to the All About Birds organization’s research, the length of snowy owls’ eggs is 5.7 cm (2.2 inches). The width of snowy owls’ eggs is 4.5 cm (1.8 inches). Moreover, the color of their eggs is white. The eyes of owlets open after 5 days of hatching. The owlets also look white and fluffy after birth. ~ Source

03. Thick Eyelashes

Snowy owls have thick, long, and luxurious eyelashes. Their eyelashes protect their eyes from the harsh Arctic environment. They work as a shield from snow and wind. These long lashes help reduce the glare or bright sunlight reaching their eyes. Harsh sun rays are not a barrier anymore!

04. Brown Colored Snowy Owls

Snowy Owls are white, but there are some exceptions too. Some of the snowy owls are brown. Their brown plumage has a significant impact on their color. Mostly, adults or young snowy owls are a little lighter brown as compared to the elders. Their heads, backs, and chests are more brownish than the rest of their bodies.

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05. Biggest Snowy Owl

Snowy owl

Tadashi from the forum of “Facts” reported that the average length of a snowy owl is 59 cm. Also, a snowy owl’s normal wingspan and weight are 166 cm and 1.66 kg, respectively. However, the largest and biggest Snowy Owl ever recorded in entire history was 70 cm tall. 

06. Unique Call

The hatchlings of snowy owls have the most distinct and unique calls. They lose these unique callings of their own when they grow up and reach adulthood. During the hatching process, they can produce a series of high-pitched squeaks.

But after some time, these squeaks turn into annoying, high-pitched screams. However, this is helpful for the mother to find the hatchling if they are lost somewhere. Meanwhile, the owlets grow and start learning and using new distinct calls for several communication purposes. 

07. Broad and Short Legs

According to scientific research, snowy owls find it difficult to sit, perch, and nest on trees. That’s why they choose to nest and perch on the ground. Scientists believe that the reason behind this behavior is the broad and short legs of snowy owls.

They prefer to build their nests and breed in grassy and secluded areas on the surface of the Earth. The short and wide legs of snowy owls are the hurdle that makes it difficult for them to sit and lay eggs while nesting on trees.

08. Lay Eggs in May

Snowy owls lay their eggs in May. They lay 8 eggs on average within 10 days. Mostly, they can also lay 11 eggs. And, snowy owls can lay a minimum of 5 eggs. After a month, the eggs hatch.

The parents feed their babies until October. The young ones start leaving nests in early August. However, parents and other siblings start migrating in October. 

09. Part of Culture

Snowy Owls are also shown in popular culture. A well-known snowy owl named Hedwig is Harry Potter’s pet. Hedwig has gained popularity among kids and elders in this century. 

Hedwig was a male snowy owl due to his plumage. It was Harry Potter’s pet. He also used him as a messenger bird. Let’s see another cultural example where snowy owls have gained much popularity in France.

10. Drone System Named Snowy Owl

The drone system of the French Air Force bears the appellation of the wintry bird – a snowy owl. They named the drone system “Harfang des Neiges“. This is a French word that means “snowy owl“. This drone system was first launched in 2006.

The Harfang System is best for carrying advanced radar. It also plays a vital role in other sensor technologies. The French military benefited from the deployment of the Harfang System. With no danger to the soldiers’ lives, the French are using these drones to gather information about their closest rivals.

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11. Foot-Stomping Behavior

Snowy Owls have a distinctive “Foot-Stomping” behavior. In this behavior, snowy owls stomp their feet on the ground. They start mimicking the movement of prey and lure it out. Have you ever seen their foot-stomping behavior? Well, we have seen them various times doing this parody.

12. Skilled Swimmers

Snowy Owls are birds, but they are also known as skilled swimmers. They have been observed crossing bodies of water during their migration. They do not drown in the water while swimming. They can also dive into the water to catch the fish. This behavior is not common in other species of owls.

13. Snowy Owls in Captivity

Snowy owls are trained in captivity. Thousands of bird lovers love to train snowy owls. In captivity, snowy owls get training to participate in falconry. They showcase their adaptability and intelligence to amuse people.

Snowy owls are not just silent and serious birds. They also engage in playful behavior, including sliding down snow banks or chasing after smaller objects. They also attract females with their playful dancing behavior.

14. “zygodactyl” Arrangement

Snowy Owls have a specialized toe arrangement. It is commonly known as “zygodactyl arrangement“. It indicates that the snowy owls have two toes pointing backward and two pointing forward. This arrangement helps them enhance their grip on prey and perches.

15. Waterproof and Windproof Feathers

Waterproof and Windproof Feathers

The dense and strong feathers of snowy owls are waterproof and windproof. Their feathers keep them dry and warm, even in blizzard conditions. That’s why they survive in freezing temperatures and how they catch prey from within the water.

16. Captures Prey in Mid-Air

Have you ever seen a snowy owl catching another bird in the air? You would have seen them catching small birds. They have an excellent ability to capture prey in mid-air, just like eagles and hawks. This also shows their agile nature.

17. Snowy Owl Future

The future of snowy owls is in danger due to climate change and global warming. The temperature rise has caused a low snowfall rate and a high rainfall rate. This change has affected the populations of rodents and lemmings devastatingly. The main food source of snowy owls is extinguishing, so the population of snowy owls is also extinguishing.

Only the climatic and temperature changes between 1998 and 2000 had an effect on the rodent population, with snowy owls experiencing a 98% food shortage. Global warming is also responsible for the high temperatures. According to scientists, a notable number of snowy owls die every year just because of heatstroke. ~ Source

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Are snowy owls good luck?

Snowy owls are always thought to bring luck or fortune. There are many Native American civilizations that believe snowy owls are good luck. However, many tribes don’t believe it and associate snowy owls with bad omens.

What is a unique fact about a snowy owl?

Sit and wait! This is a unique fact about a snowy owl. They just sit in a place and wait for their prey to come out of their eyesight or hearing range. This fun fact is not present in other raptors. In fact, snowy owls are energy savers; they do not fly and waste energy in long searches for prey.

How fast can a snowy owl fly?

Snowy owls can fly at a speed of 46 miles per hour. Many studies state that snowy owls can fly at a speed of more than 50 miles per hour. This is a lot of speed. Thus, we can say snowy owls are fast-flying birds, just like falcons.

Are snowy owls born white?

Immediately after leaving their eggs, the baby owlets are covered in delicate, snow-white feathers. Their color turned darker gray after some days. It takes a few weeks for the initial set of feathers to develop. However, these feathers are predominantly white. Moreover, they have different patterns of black marks and stripes. ~ Source

Do snowy owls have the same vocalizations as other owls?

No, snowy owls have different vocalizations. Most owls use distinct hooting sounds for communication. However, snowy owls vocalize through a range of low barks, hisses, and raspy calls that are unique to their species. 

According to a study on the Facts forum, scientists have recorded more than 15 different vocals or calls of snowy owls. ~ Source

Conclusion

According to Partners in Flight estimates, there has been a 64% decline in the global population of snowy owls from 1976-2016. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies has declared the snowy owls on the Yellow Watch List due to the decline of their population. Hence, snowy owls need constant care and regular assessment to save them for future generations and a balanced ecosystem.

I hope the above-mentioned crazy facts have made your eyes twinkle! Do you have any other interesting facts about the great white owls in your mind that we are missing? Kindly share that with the audience here. Sincere thanks!

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