Our knowledge of Snowy Owls is expanded through a variety of research methods, including: observation, surveys, satellite tracking, banding, habitat and climate modeling, and population trend analysis. For ORI, all our research starts in the field where we collect various metrics at nests every four days.
Hiking for miles across the Arctic tundra is an exhausting and often monotonous task. During a breeding season, sometimes we monitor over 50 nests; sometimes just two that are distantly spaced over our 100-sq mile study site. But long tundra walks are often punctuated with a bit of excitement.
Snowy Owls vigorously defend their nests against potential threats including fox, jaegers, gulls, even polar bears are attacked when they get to close. And researchers. Males conduct most of the nest defense, but females will often join in. This can involve vocalizations like barking, screaming, and hooting, or occasional distraction displays. But most often our presence at a nest is met by repeated attacks – targeted swoops and dives performed by the male. And, indeed, all of our