Snowy Owls are native to the Northern Regions of Canada and the United States. Occasionally in the winter, they will migrate in search of food and can be spotted in Iowa. The winter of 2017 and 2018 is starting to be an irruption year! When populations of lemmings—the main diet of snowy owls on the tundra—is low, the owls will travel further for food. Snowy Owls are usually found roosting on the ground, as there are no trees where they live. They have excellent eyesight but are not as vocal as other owls.
The website of the Iowa Ornithologists Union (IOU) has started a database with recent sightings of the owls in Iowa. The latest addition to the map was an owl that was found deceased at the Alliant Powerplant in Lansing, Iowa. The deceased owl was reported to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and was turned over to the Allamakee County Conservation Board and the Driftless Area Education and Visitors Center in Lansing. The owl will be used in the Raptor Display, celebrating the magnificent birds that we find in the Driftless Region!
Birding enthusiasts who are excited about spotting a snowy owl are in luck! Most owls are nocturnal, but the snowy owl is active during the day. Because owls rely on their keen sense of sight for hunting, they prefer to spend their days in open areas on low perches, such as a downed tree or a field terrace. No matter where you spot a bird, you should always maintain a distance and be sure to report the bird to the IOU!
Photo: Dianne Moller with a Snowy Owl of Hoo's Woods Raptor Center taken by Ross Geerdes