It’s a dream of mine to see a snowy owl. Still yet to, this photo is from the Creative Commons, but, I did sign up for @centerforwildlife Owl Prowl in Cape Neddick, ME later this month. And then this morning, I hear about a snowy owl seen in Los Angeles from @pasadenaaudubon. Maybe I need to head to SoCal to realize this dream? - @lexidoudera
Snowy owls, over 2ft tall and with a 6ft wingspan, are native to the Arctic tundra regions of North America and Eurasia. Some populations do migrate seasonally, coming southward to places like Maine, but rarely much further south, during winter months when food becomes scarce.
Despite their association with the Arctic tundra, snowy owls do have a strong connection to the ocean. Many of the small mammals that they rely on for food live in coastal areas, and snowy owls have been known to hunt in and around these habitats. When snowy owls come to Maine, we see them often in salt marshes, such as Biddeford Pool or areas in Scarborough. They’ve been frequent visitors in @acadianps too.
Of course, climate change is greatly affecting the Arctic region and its species, including snowy owls. Warmer winters and melting sea ice are reducing the populations of small mammals and fish, food sources for snowy owls. The loss of sea ice and suitable nesting sites is also leading to population declines in snowy owls.
About that snowy owl in LA, it’s unclear how the Arctic-dweller arrived among the palm trees. Speculation is circulating, with some positing it arrived on a container ship or was carried by a strong storm. Either way, it’s a fun opportunity to focus on and learn about this special species. Maybe you’ll join us for the Owl Prowl!