During late December 2013, an immature snowy owl was reported at Little Talbot Island State Park on the Atlantic coast, just north of Jacksonville, Florida. BWD contributor Harry B. Hooper describes his "chase" for this elusive visitor.Snowy Owl (Photo: David Syzdek/Wikimedia)

Snowy Owl

The snowy owl, a nearly all-white bird of the far north, is difficult to confuse with anything else. Young birds and adult females are streaked with black. Older adults males are pure white. Some winters when small mammals are scarce in the far north, snowy owls head south in search of food.

Listen For

Snowies are usually silent while wintering south of the Arctic nesting grounds.


Snowy owls that come south in winter may be stressed and hungry, so it’s best to enjoy watching them from a distance, where you won’t disturb them.

Find it

Every winter some snowy owls journey south from the Arctic tundra in search of food, and bird watchers see them perched on fenceposts along meadows and coastal dunes and at other large, open expanses.


In the Arctic in summer, the sun never goes down, so snowies are more adept than other owls at daytime hunting. They may catch and consume as many as 1,600 lemmings in a single year.

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