On Thursday last week, I followed up on a Hamilton Birders Group report that there were Snowy Owls at Tollgate Pond and Windemere Basin. My first stop at the man-made, enclosed, "pond" portion of Hamilton Harbour resulted in no bird, so I headed to Windemere where the owl was immediately spotted on the first island. First, did not mean close, especially for zooming in with the rather blustery, sustained winds of the day. The camera was in a constant state of vibration, so semi-crisp pictures were hoped for only when there was a slight respite in the wind speeds.
|Likely a female Snowy Owl on a Windemere Basin island.|
|Snowy Owl - just slits of eyes showing|
I didn't notice till editing the pictures that there seems to be a few feathers of what appears to be a wing sticking up from behind the rock just above where my watermark is on the right side. If you click to enlarge the photo, you'll see at least three feathers. I didn't think Snowy Owls predated on winged creatures but on rodents and such. That is there typical menu up north, but my reading shows they will capture winged birds including ducks and the like. Impossible to tell what very likely was a previously completed meal. Typically, Snowy Owls sit and wait and watch for prey with their amazing eye sight. They are heavy birds, weighed down with all their weather protective feathers and down, and it takes more energy for them to pursue and capture food on wing.
From the southern most part of their summer breeding range, its over 2,500km. For a bird that is not built for migration, that's a long trip. Some of the birds end up dying of starvation as they don't end up finding suitable hunting grounds, or become victims of dodging abnormal vehicle traffic compareed to elk and caribou in the tundra.
|Snowy Owl - eyes partially open|
Till next time...
Keep enjoying HIS handiwork!