16th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Snowy Owl Couple
About 2,100 Km south of the North Pole and 480 Km north of the Arctic Circle, the arctic tundra in Utqiagvik, Alaska is the last breeding ground of the Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) in the United States. According to an owl researcher, the population of the snow owls has been declined at a rapid rate. Today its population is estimated at 80,000, significantly down from 200,000 in 2013. For the first time, the snowy owls earned a spot as “vulnerable” on the IUCN list.
During the breeding season, the female was solely responsible for incubating the eggs and the male's responsibility was to provide food for the female and the chicks. Although the snowy owls are capable of hunting larger preys such as geese, their preferred food source is the lemmings.
There were four eggs in this nest and they were a few days away from hatching.
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||Nov. 17, 2018, 11:34 a.m.