Friday, August 27, 2010

My Love of Owls

Since I was 10 years old I had an obsession about owls. It first started with a book called   The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear and then i did an assignment when i was 10 about owls and I made a puppet owl and from there my love grew. One of my favorite type of owls is the Snowy Owl formally know as Nyctea scandiaca.

Here some general information about the Snowy Owl:

Description: The Snowy Owl is a large, diurnal white Owl that has a rounded head, yellow eyes and black bill. The feet are heavily feathered. Intensity of dark spotting varies with the sex of the immatures, females being the darkest. Juveniles are uniformly brown with scattered white tips of down.

Size: Length 51-68.5 cm (20-27") average female 66cm (26" inches), male 59cm (23")

Wingspan 137-164cm (54-65")

Weight 1134-2000g (40-70oz) average female 1707g (60oz), male 1612g (57oz)

Habits: Snowy Owls are active during the daytime, from dawn to dusk. Snowy Owls are very aggressive when defending their nest.
Hunting & Food:
Most hunting is done in the "sit and wait" style. These Owls are highly diurnal, although they may hunt at night as well. Prey are captured on the ground, in the air, or snatched off the surface of water bodies.  

 They also snatch fish with their talons. Small prey up to small hares are swallowed whole, while larger prey are carried away and torn into large chunks.

Snowy Owls can live at least 9.5 years in the wild and 35 years in captivity. Natural enemies are few - Arctic foxes and wolves prey upon them on their tundra breeding grounds, while skuas and jaegers may take eggs or chicks.

The Snowy Owl is listed by CITES (the convention on the international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora) as Appendix II or threatened. Being a species native to our delicate Arctic ecosystem, the Snowy Owl is very vulnerable to any damage to it’s habitat. With the ongoing development of our Arctic resources as well as human encroachment (yes even in the Arctic) upon it’s habitat, there is the ever increasing risk that should any major ecological disaster ever occur (major oil spill, disease outbreak etc.) that the Snowy owl’s currently stable population would crash, and because of the fact that the Arctic once damaged is a very slow habitat indeed to recover from any damage. Without extensive efforts to continually captive propagate this species already in place, the Snowy Owl as well as other fragile Arctic species could easily be lost forever.

Here a link to learn more about CITES and how many species of plants and animals are endanger :

Also for some of our Canadian viewers there are some more links of  wildlife conservation sites:
Wildlife Conservation Society Canada
World Wildlife Foundation
Enivorment Canada
Wildlife Preservation Canada
 Canadian Wildlife Federation

These are just few of the many wildlife conservation sites in Canada and feel free to let me know of more conservation websites that you know of or an endanger species that you would like to be spot lighted more.

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