Snowy Wingspan

Besides the obvious beauty of our Photo of the Week, I am most impressed with this photographer’s precision in snapping this great shot of the Snowy Owl. With impeccable clarity, Sharon Talson has captured a great sense of movement and detail in the Snowy Owl wingspan. I’m intrigued about the events that followed this picture and if this owl was actually hunting rather than putting on a feathery display. Nonetheless, photos of birds in mid-flight always makes me marvel at the simple beauties found in nature.

In BC, Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) have been sighted around Boundary Bayand in other various marshes and wetlands during migration and hunting. During migration, these owls will make frequent stops in estuaries along the Pacific Highway. Their migration routes have been threatened by the increase of tall buildings and other large obstacles. This May 8th, celebrate World Migratory Bird Day where people around the world are bringing attention to this issue, more info can be found here.

Snowy Owls are efficient travellers and hunters due to their diurnal behaviours which allows them to be active during both the day and night, unlike the nocturnal behaviour of most owls. Luckily for owl watchers, this means that Snowy Owls are commonly sighted in tundra climates but they have even been spotted as far south as Hawaii!

For the most part, Snowy Owls live alone and only meet up in groups during mating season. So what do you call a group of Snowy Owls? It’s not called a blizzard, but rather a Parliament of Owls which makes them one of the most efficient parliaments in Canada! – joking. During courtship, a male Owl will perform special mating flights and present food offerings to the female. This is then followed by preening, when Owls clean each other’s feathers, and close perching (but I like to call it cuddling) at their nest.

Thank you to Sharon for sharing this unbelievable shot of the Snowy Owl Wingspan! To view more of Sharon’s photography, visit her website at If you would like to participate or view BC Wetlands photography collection, click here! For further reading about the Snowy Owl, please click here for a past blog by our Creative Communications Coordinator Eryne Donahue.

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