A snowy owl perches on a snow covered hay stack, keeping an eye out for any tasty small mammals that might dare to come out of their winter burrows.
Captured near Cardston in the prairies of southern Alberta, Canada.
Taken with a Canon Rebel XSi using a 70-300mm lens.
The Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) is a large, bird of prey of the Arctic regions of the world. In North America it is also known as the Arctic Owl or the Great White Owl.
In North America, it nests north of the tree line, in the High Arctic from Alaska to Labrador.
Its winter range extends roughly across the middle of North America, from its breeding range to northern United States.
During winter in southern Canada, Snowy Owls inhabit prairies, marshes, open fields, or shorelines, habitats that resemble the treeless tundra of their breeding range. Although some individuals may wander in winter, many establish and defend hunting territories for periods of two or three months.
Snowy Owls spend much of their time perched on fence posts, haystacks, trees, buildings, utility poles, or other sites where the view is unrestricted. They constantly scan the area around their perches, ready to chase another owl from the territory or to launch a silent attack on a mouse or other prey.
The Snowy Owl is the provincial bird of Quebec.
Unlike many other owls, the snowy owl is not nocturnal, but are active during the day (diurnal). With almost constant daylight during their breeding and nesting periods in the Arctic, many believe the owls have adapted to their environment. .
Snowy Owls are among the heaviest owl species in North America and range in size from 52 to 70 cm (20 to 28 in.), and their wingspan ranges from 125 to 145 cm (49 to 57 in.). As is the case with most diurnal birds of prey—those that are active during the day—the female is larger and heavier than the male. The average weight of the female is 2.3 kg (81 ounces) compared to 1.8 kg (64 ounces) for the male.