Snowy Owl

Bubo scandiacus

A regular visitor during the winter and spring, this species is found only sporadically during the summer and rarely in the fall. It is one of the few bird species found most reliably on St. George Island in the Pribilofs, owing to that island’s population of Brown Lemming (Lemmus trimucronatus), which is a major food source for this species. On St. Paul Island this species is most likely during the final week of May, though it may be found regularly through the first week of June with occasional records of migrants into late June and a few recent instances of over-summering individuals into July and August. Its abundance is higher on St. George Island along with birds remaining through the summer more regularly. Fall migrants do not arrive until quite late in the season, or in some year’s until the winter, with the first records noted during November or December in most years but late September or October do have an occasional record. Its abundance during the winter is variable, while being common in some years and absent in others. On average it is a regular part of the avifauna of the islands from late fall into the spring.

This species has yet to be fully confirmed nesting in the islands though it has been suspected to do so on St. George Island irregularly during years with large numbers of Brown Lemmings.

Photo by Doug Gochfeld
Photo by Barbara Lestenkof
Photo by Stephan Lorenz
Photo by Barbara Lestenkof
Photo by Alison Vilag