10 Cool Facts – Snowy Owls

Snowy Owl flies towards the photographer

I think that you’ll find these 10 Cool Facts will help you understand just how cool these majestic birds are. Snowy Owls hare stunning birds and make great subjects for photographers.I think that you’ll agree! Leave a comment if you know another cool fact about the Snowy Owl.

Cool Snowy Owl Facts

1) Known by Many Names

They’ve been called Snow Owl, Arctic Owl, Great White Owl, Ghost Owl, Ermine Owl, Tundra Ghost, Ookpik, Scandinavian Nightbird, White Terror of the North, Highland Tundra Owl, White Owls, Harfangs, American Snowy Owls. Famously one was called Hedwig! Whew! I am going to call them Most-beautiful Owl, Snowy photogenicus.

2) Loves the Daylight

Snowy Owls are diurnal hunters and actually hunt mostly by day. Most owls that have yellow eyes are diurnal. Owls with orange eyes are mostly nocturnal. That is most helpful for our photography!

3) A Great Collective Noun

Owls as a group have many collective nouns (the name given to a group of a species) such as a parliament, a wisdom, a sagaciousness, a stare, a study, a stoop and a bazaar. A parliament is the most often used collective noun. Some owls have their own collective noun like a stable of Barn Owls. That also brings this cool fact to its conclusion; a group of Snowy Owls is called a blizzard, or a drift; Perfect!

The collective noun for Snowy Owl's is a drift or blizzard and you can see why with this barely vivible snowy owl in a snow storm.
Easy to see how the collective noun is a drift or a blizzard!
4) A Dual Purpose Beak

The Snowy Owl’s beak has a hook that is used to grip and tear their prey. Even cooler, the beak is surrounded by bristles which help them locate their prey!

5) A Lemming Eating Machine

The Snowy Owl’s favorite food is the lemming, and they can consume over 1500 of them per year. That is an amazing 375 lbs (170 kg)) of food!

6) White Feathers with a Purpose

Snowy Owls white feathers have multiple purposes. They act as camouflage to hide the birds from predators while they are on their nests. An even cooler fact is that these white feathers lack pigment which leaves more room for air which in turn leave more room for air which in turn keeps the owl’s warmer!

Female snowy owl launchng form a fence post in search of breakfast Snowy Owl Workshop
Using the fence post to find her prey.
7) Snow Owls are Big

Snowy Owls are the heaviest of all of the North American Owls. Weighing in at 3.5 to 6.5 lbs (1.6 kg to  3 kg) Their wingspan can exceed four ft (1.2m)

8) Smart About their Eggs

Snowy Owls lay between 4 and 11 eggs. That variation depends on how plentiful their food supply. The more food, the more eggs and therefore babies! Talk about supply and demand!

9) Unusual Feather Design

Snowy Owls have unique feathers that have a slit like a comb that allows them to fly in virtual silence.

10) Patient but Fast

Snowy Owls hunt by finding a perch with a view and then glide on their silent wings very low to the ground to snatch their prey. The cool thing about Snowy Owls is that they can also fly 50 mph (80 kph) when they have to.

Prey spotted Snowy Owls glide silently and low for the attack - Snowy Owl Photo Workshop
Prey spotted Snowy Owls glide silently and low for the attack

 

Snowy Owl Photography Workshop

I suppose you already know, but it does not hurt to remind you that I do have a snowy owl photography workshop. If you are reading this you likely have some interest, so why not check it out?

Snowy Owls are Cool!

That’s my sales and pitch and my 10 cool snowy owl facts, do you know another one? Have a question about the workshop?Leave me a comment and share your knowledge!

Snowy Owl launching it's hunt from the roof of an old barn.
They like to hunt from a height like this old barn.

2 Comments

  1. Jen
      December 8, 2016 at 3:07 PM

    Such a gorgeous creature — amazing shots! I’m a big fan of Hedwig, so I’m glad she was included on the list. Great facts; I had no idea that they weren’t nocturnal.

  2. karen
      April 22, 2018 at 6:33 PM

    Southern Ohio. Mid 1960’s. My father, my brother and I were mushroom hunting , so it had to be in April when we saw it. A HUGE white owl soaring over the treetops. My dad looked up and pointed to it. ” Look at that” he exclaimed! ” It’s a great white. ” Such an incredible creature. It’s the only one I have ever seen. I will never know what it was doing flying over our little farm in Southern Ohio, but I am eternally grateful it chose that path. I love owls and it was a once-in-a-lifetime sighting with my Dad who passed a few years later when I was eighteen. That moment will forever be ingrained in my heart!

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