Juneau - Snowy Owl


Snowy Owl (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Our new Snowy Owl is a juvenile male who was rescued at anĀ Arcelor Mittal steel mill in Cleveland. He had a badly fractured wing and an infestation of feather lice. After he was stabilized he underwent two separate surgeries to reset his dislocated wing. This injury is one of the most difficult to repair because birds’ bodies start to compensate very quickly. To add to the challenge, northern species like the snowy owl are difficult to sedate and do not recover well from anesthesia. When his joint failed to heal after a second attempt, our veterinarians recommended that no further surgery be attempted on him. While this is not the outcome we had hoped for, we are glad to report that he has shown great promise to become a handsome and dignified educational ambassador.

About Snowy Owls

(Information taken from theĀ Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

At the extreme northern margins of the arctic tundra lives the Snowy Owl, the northernmost, heaviest, and most distinctively marked owl of North America. Largely diurnal, it spends much of its time perched still and silent on prominent lookouts, waiting to make forays for prey.

  • Size: 52-71 cm (20-28 in)
  • Wingspan: 126-145 cm (50-57 in)
  • Weight: 1600-2950 g (56.48-104.14 ounces)
  • Large, white owl.
  • Some dark barring.
  • Variable amounts of dark brown barring on head, wings, back, breast, and tail.
  • Eyes yellow.
  • Feet white and completely feathered.
  • Bill black and mostly covered by feathers.
Sex Differences

Female slightly larger and more heavily barred. Male may be entirely white.


Immature like adult female. Male gets whiter as it ages.


Lemmings, when available. Also rabbits, rodents, waterfowl, other birds, and fish.

Summer Range:

Breeds in high Arctic from coastal Alaska across Canada to Labrador. Also in northern Greenland, Scandinavia, and Russia.


Winter Range:

Breeds in high Arctic from coastal Alaska across Canada to Labrador. Also in northern Greenland, Scandinavia, and Russia.


Breeds on open tundra. Winters in fields and on beaches.


Waits on a perch until it locates prey, then pursues and seizes prey in its talons. Can also locate prey visually or by sound, even in dense grass or under thick layers of snow.

Nest Type:

A scrape in the ground, formed into a rounded depression by the female.


Egg Description:


Clutch Size:

3-11 eggs

Condition at Hatching:

Covered in white down, eyes closed

Conservation Status

Population sizes difficult to estimate because of size and remoteness of habitat. No information on long-term population changes, except an apparent decline in northern Europe.


Generally silent in winter. Call a deep, powerful hoot. Also a series of harsh clicking.