Photographer Terry Smith of Toledo says he was startled as well as honored by Mother Nature that she would afford him such a privileged opportunity to take a picture of a Snowy Owl seen yesterday in our region. And a wonderful privilege it was and is for us as viewers that Terry would share such a rare sight for all of us to enjoy.
Terry says snowy owls appear up and down the north and central Oregon coasts about every five years when the owl’s basic diet fluctuates, sending the birds south in search of food.
Here’s some additional information on Snowy Owls from Wikipedia:
The Snowy Owl is typically found in the northern circumpolar region, where it makes its summer home north of latitude 60 degrees north. However, it is a particularly nomadic bird, and because population fluctuations in its prey species can force it to relocate, it has been known to breed at more southerly latitudes.
This species of owl nests on the ground, building a scrape on top of a mound or boulder. A site with good visibility, ready access to hunting areas, and a lack of snow is chosen. Gravel bars and abandoned eagle nests may be used. Breeding occurs in May, and depending on the amount of prey available, clutch sizes range from 5 to 14 eggs, which are laid singly, approximately every other day over the course of several days. Hatching takes place approximately five weeks after laying, and the pure white young are cared for by both parents. Both the male and the female defend the nest and their young from predators. Some individuals stay on the breeding grounds while others migrate.