Snowy Owl Irruption
Immature Snowy Owl – British Columbia, Canada, January 14, 2012
The appearance of this photogenic species in the southern portions of its range is tied to population cycles of its major prey species in the bird’s arctic breeding ground. Normally when lemming populations decline, young birds are forced as far south as Kansas or Missouri. However, according to an article on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society sponsored ebird website (see http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/got-snowies), this year’s owl irruption occurred despite a lemming population all-time high!
When viewing or photographing these birds, it is important to realize they may be struggling to find food, and any harrassment could result in the unncessary expenditure of energy and possibly death. Use a super telephoto lens! I used a 400 mm lens to take this photo from a major recreation trail to avoid disturbing the owls.
Brian Healy Photography 2012
Canon 40d, 400 mm lens