I took a three-day weekend and headed to Canada with a friend.
I know that sounds kinda mundane since I can walk to Canada, but we drove west and north looking for Snowy Owls. Anything but mundane in Ontario. And we found quite a few owls thanks to some very experienced Canadian birders. One even drew us a map to find three of them. And we found four in that area instead!
I cannot get over how helpful, warm and nice we found these people. Birders in Canada do not keep the owl locations tight to the vest. Instead, they go out of their way to guide us so as to make the most of our limited time in their country.
Then we continued the trip off eBird location maps for more owls as we went north onto Algonquin. The Snowy Owl doesn’t give a hoot that we’ve driven halfway across winter frozen Ontario to see a bird on a power pole or high in a tree. The snowy owl doesn’t even know we exist for the most part, except to occasionally open its eyes and twist its head. Its eyes when open, are bright yellow laser beams in a fluffy white, feathery package. They have a hypnotic appeal and photographers just love them.
Many of these owls gravitate to shorelines along the frozen lakes or look for snow-covered fields. So these places are where you just might see one. Or just look up and you might see them atop power poles or utility towers.
Snowy owls like meals of small rodents, which they hear beneath the snowpack or sight with those laser beam eyes. Then they grab the prey with piercing talons and swallow the mouse or vole headfirst. The owls are opportunists and will eat what’s locally abundant wherever they might be. Maps of snowy owl locations, have afforded birders and photographers with a these mesmerizing seasonal encounters.
In our area, owls have been few this year, not like in other previous irruption years. We traveled to Ontario for those shown here. The days were sunny, warm and calm. The owls seemed to enjoy the sun, basking on the top of trees and poles. We did see owls on the snowy Canadian fields, but at a great distance. That is important too to keep distance from them. While owls consume prey in harmony with the environment, we need to be considerate of their space.