I made a run into Milwaukee to see the Snowy Owl at the Lake Express that had been reported. When I arrived at 8:00 am, the Snowy Owl was no where to be seen. I birded other parts of the lakefront with nothing major to report. I stopped at the Lake Express one more time before leaving the lakefront and the Snowy Owl was present. It was sitting out near a pipe, moved 10 feet from that location in the next couple hours and remained a very long distance from the best viewing point. The first Snowy Owl sighting of the season is always a special treat no matter how far away it is from viewing. It was a pleasant day out on the lakefront with mild temps, some sun early and low winds. It was a fun day too seeing some old birding friends and meeting some new. Images of the beautiful female Snowy Owl were taken on November 29, 2014.
Binomial name: Bubo scandiacus
Category: Typical Owls
Description: Adult males are mostly white with a few dark feather tips. Adult females and juveniles are white with dark scalloping on chest, back, wings, and tail. Yellow eyes, black beak, and feathery feet.
Size: 20”- 28” long, 49” – 59” wingspan
Weight: 3.5 lb. – 6.6 lb.
Habitat: Wide open, treeless spaces such as shorelines, lakes, open fields, and agricultural sites.
Diet: Small mammals such as rodents, lemmings, voles, mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and other birds such as shorebirds, songbirds, ducks, geese, and pheasants.
Nesting: The female builds a nest on a mound with good visibility. She scrapes away the top layer of soil and, over several days, presses her body into the ground to make a depression. She will lay a clutch of 3 to 11 eggs and incubate them for about 5 weeks. Both parents will defend the nest and care for the hatchlings which are born pure white. The same nest may be used year after year.
Notes: Snowy owls are considered the heaviest owl in North America, weighing about a pound more than its closest contender, the Great Horned Owl. A snowy owl was featured in the Harry Potter series when Harry received his pet, Hedwig. It is also the official bird of Quebec.