This week’s photo, taken December 12, 2012 in Stanwood, WA, features a SNOWY OWL lounging on driftwood. It probably also spends much of its day drifting in and out of sleep.
I return to Stanwood (an hour north of Seattle), on a quest to see owls, and I am not disappointed. After I pay a $10 fee for permission to walk on a farmer’s private land, I stroll the levee between Boe and Thomle Roads, where I spot 8 SNOWY OWLS and at least 2 SHORT-EARED OWLS. To the east, a couple of Snowys are sitting on the ground out in the fields, and a third one is perched on the roof of a small building in the middle of a field. To the west, 5 additional Snowy Owls pose on their individual driftwood pedestals that rise out of the mudflats which lead to the shallow bay named Port Susan. Each owl sits motionless for long periods of time. The owl on the roof remains on the roof for the entire 3 hours that I’m in the area.
By contrast, the Short-eared Owls are frequently active, especially toward the end of the day, as they fly back and forth over the fields and mudflats, in search of rodents and other nutritious snacks. When a Short-eared Owl passes through the neighborhood of a Snowy Owl, it often dive bombs its much larger cousin. The Snowys don’t seem bothered or concerned by the Short Ears’ obnoxious behavior.
Other Species of Interest: