Snowy Owl

Bubo scandiacus

Begun in 1992 in Barrow, Alaska, the Snowy Owl project is focused on the owl’s diet, habitat, and reproductive success. Thanks to the United Iñupiat Corporation and Barrow Environmental Observatory for permitting access to field sites.

Through our research, we have discovered that Snowy Owl nesting fluctuates with the population cycles of the Brown Lemming.

In tracking studies, in conjunction with the Raptor Center of Boise, Idaho, we found that Snowy Owls engage in east to west, high-latitude movements from Barrow to Russia, then from Barrow to Canada. These migrations underscore the fact that conservation of this species will require large-scale, international efforts to protect Arctic habitat.

Occasionally, Snowy Owl populations irrupt into more southern latitudes. In 2005-2006, we had first-hand experience of this phenomenon when a population of Snowy Owls overwintered in western Montana. During the event, we collected dietary data and determined that the owls were primarily eating voles (95%).

The irruption emphasizes the fact that Snowy Owls require large areas of open lands, beyond the Arctic, to accommodate their nomadic tendencies.

To donate to the Snowy Owl Project, click here.



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The Owl Research Institute is dedicated to owl research, education and conservation.
(406) 644-3416