Nantucket Snowy Owls

Nantucket Snowy Owls

If you find yourself on Nantucket in the off-season, you may be lucky enough to stumble upon a beautiful Snowy Owl…North America’s heaviest owl, weighing anywhere from 4-6 pounds. A stunning snowy owl is pure white in color and has most recently been seen at Great Point and Jetties beach. Between the recent snowstorm and the quietness of February, our team set out on a Snowy Owl photo hunt!

The above photo was taken at Sesachacha Pond earlier this month. The kissing swans in the background made for a truly spectacular and unique moment!

Our friends at Nantucket Conservation Foundation work hard to protect these animals while educating the public and letting us safely see them in real life. “They prefer open meadows and dune habitat for hunting and on Nantucket they are generally found sitting in beach grass, watching and waiting for unlucky prey. You might be lucky enough to see these birds by visiting Eel Point, Great Point, Smith’s Point or Coatue. Scan the dunes with your binoculars looking for white bumps in the beach grass. Please remember to let nature be and do not to approach or disturb these birds! Watch and enjoy from a distance. Wear your orange as well as it is hunting season!”

For an added adventure, many island organizations set out on group Snowy Owl hunts. Join the Maria Mitchell Foundation on February 19 for an exciting afternoon birding experience – the Snowy Owl Quest! While a snowy owl sighting is not guaranteed, you will learn about their behaviors and ecology, as well as get to see other species from the Nantucket winter bird community. Click here for details.

Fun fact: Some other names for the Snowy Owl are Arctic Owl, Great White Owl, Ghost Owl, Ermine Owl, Tundra Ghost, Ookpik, Scandinavian Nightbird, White Terror of the North, and Highland Tundra Owl. (source)