Birds of the Bible – Snowy Owl in Florida

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) by Raymond Barlow

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) by Raymond Barlow (Not the one being seen)

the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind; the little owl, the fisher owl, and the screech owl; the white owl, the jackdaw, and the carrion vulture;
(Leviticus 11:16-18 NKJV)

And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, (Leviticus 11:16-17 KJV)

Florida birdwatchers are pleased to have an odd appearance of a Snowy Owl. She is a young owl, but she has quite a following down here. What makes this so unusual is that she is way out of the normal winter grounds for these birds. This is only the third observation of the Snowy Owl in Florida. We are known for our “Snowbirds,” but the Snowy Owl definitely qualifies as a “Snowbird.”

This bird has made a temporary home at the Little Talbot Island State Park. Not sure how the bird has any privacy. Birdwatchers from all around are making trips to Duval County, where Jacksonville is located. She was still there as of yesterday, Jan 5, 2014.

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) Female in Florida 2013-2014 ©©minds-eye

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) Female in Florida 2013-2014 ©©minds-eye

Snowy Owl (bubo scandiacus) are members of the Strigidae – Owl Family. They are the largest North American Owl. Owls are a Bird of the Bible and depending on which version you use, Owls are mentioned in 14 verses in the KJV, but a “Snowy Owl” is not mentioned, but the “great” and “white” owls are mentioned. What a lovely creation from our Lord.

This yellow-eyed, black-beaked white bird is easily recognizable. It is 52–71 cm (20–28 in) long, with a 125–150 cm (49–59 in) wingspan. Also, these birds can weigh anywhere from 1.6 to 3 kg (3.5 to 6.6 lb).[3] It is one of the largest species of owl and, in North America, is on average the heaviest owl species. The adult male is virtually pure white, but females and young birds have some dark scalloping; the young are heavily barred, and dark spotting may even predominate. Its thick plumage, heavily feathered taloned feet, and colouration render the Snowy Owl well-adapted for life north of the Arctic Circle.

Snowy Owl calls are varied, but the alarm call is a barking, almost quacking krek-krek; the female also has a softer mewling pyee-pyee or prek-prek. The song is a deep repeated gahw. They may also clap their beak in response to threats or annoyances. While called clapping, it is believed this sound may actually be a clicking of the tongue, not the beak.

This powerful bird relies primarily on lemmings and other small rodents for food during the breeding season, but at times of low prey density, or during the ptarmigan nesting period, they may switch to favoring juvenile ptarmigan. They are opportunistic hunters and prey species may vary considerably, especially in winter. They feed on a wide variety of small mammals such as meadow voles and deer mice, but will take advantage of larger prey, frequently following traplines to find food. Some of the larger mammal prey includes hares, muskrats, marmots, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, prairie dogs, rats, moles, smaller birds, entrapped furbearers. Birds preyed upon include ptarmigan, other ducks, geese, shorebirds, pheasants, grouse, coots, grebes, gulls, songbirds, and even other raptors, including other owl species. Most of the owls’ hunting is done in the “sit and wait” style; prey may be captured on the ground or in the air, or fish may be snatched off the surface of bodies of water using their sharp talons. Each bird must capture roughly 7 to 12 mice per day to meet its food requirement and can eat more than 1,600 lemmings per year.

Snowy Owls, like many other birds, swallow their small prey whole. Strong stomach juices digest the flesh, while the indigestible bones, teeth, fur, and feathers are compacted into oval pellets that the bird regurgitates 18 to 24 hours after feeding. Regurgitation often takes place at regular perches, where dozens of pellets may be found. Biologists frequently examine these pellets to determine the quantity and types of prey the birds have eaten. When large prey are eaten in small pieces, pellets will not be produced. (Wikipedia)

Here are some of the links to articles:

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