A Trip to See Snowy Owls

Snowy Owl at Boundary Bay, British Columbia, Canada

One of Dozens of Snowy Owls at Boundary Bay, B.C.

Last week I took 2 days and drove to Boundary Bay in British Columbia, Canada, to see an unusual sight: over 20 Snowy Owls that had journeyed from their Arctic home for a winter respite. Harry Potter fans will recognize them as the same species as Hedwig, Harry’s pet owl and mail courier.

Although Snowies regularly change homes for the winter, they rarely travel so far south. This extra-distant “irruption” happens only every handful of years. It may be prompted by variations in owl populations and/or  food supplies.

A number of Snowies have been sighted closer to my home, but the Boundary Bay owls are notable for their large numbers and close proximity (within 50 feet) to an easily-accessed trail.

My 3-hour drive was rewarded with great views. The Snowy Owls are diurnal (active both day and night), but were mostly napping when I was there at midday. I also got good looks and photos of  Short-eared Owls, Northern Harriers, and dozens of Bald Eagles.

On my way home, I checked out the Skagit Flats in Washington State, finding numerous Red-tailed Hawks, a Rough-legged Hawk, and plenty more Eagles (nine perched in one small stand of trees!).

For photos of these and other birds, have a look at my Gallery page and open the album titled “Boundary Bay.”

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