(Bubo scandiacus)
(formerly Nyctea scandiaca)

Male Snowy Owl showing white plumage

The Snowy Owl spends the winter months inhabiting the marshes, fields and prairies of Canada, including Southern Ontario, however, they return to the Arctic to breed each spring.

This is one of the heaviest Owls found in North America, as females can weigh up to 5 lbs and males up to 3 lbs. These owls often have a wingspan measuring over 4 ft, and stand at 22" to 27" tall.

Female Snowy Owl showing plumage

Males are often pure white, although females tend to be slightly darker than the males and their plumage may be white barred with brown and in the picture above, you can see a typical male Snowy.

There is a layer of down on the bird which is covered with thick feathers, which insulates the whole body - even the powerful feet and legs are feathered so that only the curved strong claws are visible!

The Snowy Owl lacks the feathery tufts which characterize many species of Owls, and only has slight evidence of them.

The beak is black and is perfectly designed to capture and eat the small mammals which are this birds main food - each bird consumes around 8 - 10 small rodents daily!

They typically hunt from high points such as utility poles or tall trees where they can observe potential prey as they scan the area watching for mice and lemmings - they even keep a wary eye for other owls which they will chase away from their territory.

We hope you enjoy this short video, courtesy of YouTube and National Geographic

Although quiet while hunting, these Owls are known to scream and hiss at intruders who are coming into their territory, and have been observed diving at humans who approach their nests.

These birds, unlike other owls, are not exclusively nocturnal, and also hunt during the day - perhaps this could be an adaptation because of the long hours of daylight during the Arctic summer?

These birds do not breed in Southern Ontario, as they return to their northern breeding grounds in Spring, where they nest on the high tundra, using any tall points of land for their nests.

Close-up of Snowy Owl looking at camera

Snowy Owl Info ...

The Snowy Owl - All About Birds

The Boreal Forest - the Snowy Owl
Information about these interesting birds in a clear concise manner

Wikipedia - the Snowy Owl
Everything you ever wanted to know about this fascinating bird, information about their distribution and habitat

Pictures on this page courtesy of Dreamstime and
© Eric Gevaert |
© Alexey Arkhipov |

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Beautiful Beginning to 2021 
My husband Vance Verleye and I have lived in Chatham-Kent Ontario our whole lives, we are both in our mid fifties and saw a snowy owl today while driving …

Adult male Snowy Owl 
I was driving from Grand Bend, Ontario to Windsor and turned onto either Bothwell or Tower Road (can't remember which road) and noticed the Snowy …

Birds eye view. 
We have snowy owls that grace us with their presence every winter on our farm. It makes me happy to see them return every year. They are so beautiful …

Snowy Owl near St Thomas 
I was driving by the old Fort plant near Talbotville and saw this beautiful Male Snowy Owl sitting on a fence. It stayed there and never moved, but …

Snowy Owl in Hamilton along Lakefront trail 
My sister and I were walking the waterfront trail in Hamilton in November and spotted this beauty. She sat in the same spot for at least an hour. …

3 Snowy's in a row! 
I had my first sighting of a Snowy Owl and it was very impressive. It made my day. I was driving on Highway 86 just south of the Town of Listowel, …

Snowy Owl 
Driving home from work I stopped to get a picture of a hawk. After it flew away I spotted this Snowy Owl two hydro poles further up the road. It …

Possible Female Snowy Owl in Stoney Creek Not rated yet
My daughter said, Dad, there is a big seagull on our neighbours roof 🤔. No, that is a rare Snow Owl from the Arctic! Monday February 14th, 2022 …

Snowy Owl in Hamilton Not rated yet
Driving to work this morning, I'm pretty sure I saw a male Snowy Owl because it was very white, no dark markings. It flew up from a farm field to the …

New Years Eve Snowy Owl Not rated yet
I saw this beautiful Snowy Owl on Concession 4 in Point Clark on top of a hydro pole. I've always wanted to see one and I finally did. I believe …

Snowy Owl sighting Not rated yet
This Snowy Owl flew by and landed in a tree. It was a huge and lovely bird.

Another beautiful sighting to start 2022 Not rated yet
Hi - I was walking through a forested park (Breithaupt Park) in Kitchener Ontario around 9:30 a.m. on January 6th when I heard a loud commotion of crows …

Snowy Owl in Clarington Not rated yet
I was walking out on the property near the barn on the way to the north field when I saw a beautiful white wing span. I looked up and saw a gorgeous …

Snowy Owl on a fence post Not rated yet
I believe I saw a female Snowy Owl this morning west of Dunnville about 1/2 mile north of Lake Erie. She would not let me get too close but kept flying …

Snowy Owl Close Encounter Not rated yet
In mid-March I was driving up to my cottage late at night. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a massive shape flying over my van towards my headlights. …

Beautiful Snowy Owl Not rated yet
Taken Nov 25, in Port Rowan, Ontario. Sorry about the quality. Our first ever sighting of a Snowy Owl. Your pictures are great! Thank you for …

Snowy Owls across the area Not rated yet
Abraham Draycott from Cavan, Ontario, said ... I was walking the dogs on a trail system through the Cavan swamp and two days in a row I scared something …

Our Snowy Sighting Not rated yet
While 4 wheeling behind our house in a sand quarry we came across a Snowy Owl. This was in June. It was beautiful and sitting on a pile of rocks. …

Snowy Owl on a hydro pole Not rated yet
Travelling highway 32 near Mitchell’s Bay, Ontario.

Snowy Owl likes to shop at the new Costco in Grimsby Not rated yet
Though I shot these a few weeks ago, he was back there last night - March around 18:30 hrs. There is still a lot of open field around the new construction. …

Snowy Owl Not rated yet
In February, this reader sent us these beautiful pictures of a Snowy Owl ... my apologies for the long delay in publishing this. I live in Woolwich …

Snowy Owl at Dr Davey School Not rated yet
As we started our school day, we heard many students amazed at seeing a male Snowy Owl on our school roof. Of course we needed to take pictures and …

Big female Snowy Owl on my barn Not rated yet
47 years later finally see my first wild Snowy! This large female seems to have found a regular perch top my barn. Not the greatest pics/vid yet but …

Snowy Owls in Alliston Not rated yet
Any winter morning you can find Snowy Owls in New Tecumseth if you know where to look ... The 11th Line between Tottenham Road (County Rd …

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Snowy Owl on Fifty Road Not rated yet
I saw a Snowy Owl, all white, on top of an L.E.D. street light pole, which I actually put up and installed. It was just sitting up there over the bridge …

Trent River Owl Not rated yet
I live in the village of Hastings, just about 1/2 hour east of Peterborough, Ontario. My property is on the Trent River just west of the village. …

Snowy Owl male sighted at Lake Muskoka Not rated yet
Videoed in April, around 3 pm at Lake Muskoka, Ontario.

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