The mysterious appeal of the snowy owl has definitely lent itself to the fantasy of stories like Harry Potter. However, many of us still don’t know many snowy owl facts and mostly just appreciate their beauty. While there’s nothing wrong with taking in the well deserving majesty of these birds, there is much to know about them.

For starters, we can look at their namesake snowy white feathers. These birds use their thick plumage to survive the bone chilling temperatures of their home. They have such dense insulation from their feathers that they are one of the heaviest owls in North America. An adult snowy owl can weigh between 3.5 to 6.6 pounds. To put this into perspective, the most widely distributed species of owl, the barn owl, weighs between 0.95 to 1.4 pounds. Another interesting snowy owl fact is that their white feathers offer both camouflage and better insulation.


They lack pigment in most parts, which leaves pockets for air to fill. Air being a great insulator, makes these white feathers even warmer than most and helps these birds survive. Their feather adaptations also include the slipper like feather covering on their feet. These prevent heat from being lost through their legs and toes, which are often in contact with snow and cold surfaces. 

Another snowy owl fact unique to this species is that they are diurnal. While most owls are nocturnal and hunt after nightfall, snowy owls hunt during both the night and day. Their prey mostly consists of lemmings but they can also hunt larger animals like geese, hares, ducks and songbirds. Their hunting relies on a lot of patience and waiting for an animal to show itself among the snow. Once spotted the owls can swoop down with speeds of 50 mp/h. One of my favorite snowy owl facts is that these birds are known for their silent flight. This aided with their perfect camouflage makes them excellent hunters. 


Doing anything for the first time can come as a bit of a challenge. These things are rarely easy when you encounter them for the first time. Most people have to learn how to navigate them from scratch. There is no comfort in muscle memory to rely on in these situations. Naturally, this can be very uncomfortable. There is a reason why we stick to the things we know, it’s easy. This is simply human nature. Naturally, we gravitate towards situations that make us feel familiar, safe, calm, and secure. I had to figure out how to photograph a snowy owl in the snow for the first time here.

Understandably, doing things that are new and difficult for us can be nerve-wracking. I didn’t know where I needed to adapt my methods to photograph a snowy owl in the snow.  Not many of us want to admit it, but we often feel this way. We’re not necessarily lazy people who are afraid to try new things. We may not want to struggle to master something or start from scratch again. It isn’t our fault for thinking that learning curves aren’t a natural part of life. People rarely talk about the struggles they face. We usually just skip to when we’re great at something, and have lots of experience. However, sticking to what’s easy is the enemy of progress.

When we have to struggle to master something, we gain valuable knowledge and experiences. While daunting at first, we would all come to value the lessons we learned in difficult situations. Once we slowly get used to it, the discomfort becomes more and more bearable. What we gain from the discomfort soon starts to outweigh the negative feelings we have towards it, until one day it is no longer uncomfortable. Despite all the trial and error, I was finally able to photograph a snowy owl in the snow and was proud with the result.

Enjoy More Animal Pictures

Horses | Lions | Tigers | Elephants | Monkeys | Bears | Birds | Snowy Owls | Arctic Wolves | Mountain Lions | Musk Oxen | Bald Eagles | Bison | Reindeer | Arctic Fox

*A percentage of proceeds from Ejaz Khan Earth’s exhibits and sales goes to foundations that support the awareness and conservation of wildlife.

View Ejaz’s Wildlife directorial feature film vanishingknowledge.com


Horses  |   Lions   |  Bears  |  Snowy Owls  |  Arctic Wolves   |  Mountain Lions 

Musk Oxen  |  Bald Eagles  |  Arctic Fox