This past week we observed some interesting eating habits of the Snowy Owls. We had spent the better part of the day observing one female owl that was hunting and feeding on the local cuisine that the farmers property offered her.
While I knew already from observing other wildlife, birds expend energy for one of very few reasons... feeding, breeding and self preservation. So it was still interesting to observe an owl continually feeding and storing food for later consumption.
There seems to be four stages of feeding for owls... the first, catching prey and immediate consumption. The second, catching prey and picking apart its prey for consumption over a very fast period of time. The third seemed to be catching prey and then just eating the part of the prey containing maximum nutrients. Then there was the fourth... catching prey and cashing the prey for later consumption.
It was the fourth stage of feeding that was observed where it was realized that patience was paying off. This owl started cashing its prey near a mound that it had chosen as a winter nest. Away from the sight of cars and snowmobiles, out in the middle of a farmers property, this owl would return with prey and store field mice and voles for future consumption.
Finding the winter nest, and identifying at a safe distance in which to observe the activity should provide people that come on our workshops and excellent point of view for some interesting behavior... and some different photo opportunities than the usual flight and perched shots.
If you ever want to join one of our snowy owl workshops, all the details can be found on our Canadian workshop page. The 2014 and 2105 Snowy Owl workshops are listed here... http://northof49photography.com/photo-workshops/