When I was driving home from town yesterday, a blob on the top of a neighbour’s antenna tower caught my eye. As I drew closer I could see that the blob was a bird, a Snowy Owl!
This was my first sighting ever, although there have been numerous reports of Snowy Owls around the Ottawa region recently. The owls are part of an irrruption, a movement by these normally arctic inhabitants to the south. It is thought that an unusually successful breeding season has resulted in more owls looking for food and being forced south to find enough to eat.
The brown barring on this owl indicates that it is a female. Males are more snowy white. She is perched, as is common for Snowys, on a high lookout from which she can survey the surrounding fields and habitat. Unlike most owls, Snowys hunt during the day. She gave me no more than a casual glance before her gaze returned to the landscape. She must feel right at home because the mercury has dropped to the bottom of the thermometer. It was a chilling minus 34 celsius here this morning.