The snowy owl’s bright yellow eyes search the white landscape for some food and on this occasion, the female was successful in her hunt. Snowy owls (Nyctea scandiaca) fly silently when they hunt and often approach from a low angle. Nature pho- tographer Rick Dobson captured the bird hunting in fields near his home, just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 

Photographer's view 

"Snow Owls are powerful and regal and, to me, symbolize the Arctic," says Rick Dobson. He adds, "they are very large birds but fly silently and gracefully and can endure the harshest of habitats."

How to photograph an owl

To get close enough to the owls Dobson had to make sure he approached slowly and did not walk directly towards the birds. He said: “Every winter I go out with my binoculars and scan the farmers fields to see if I can locate winter- ing snowy owls. When I locate an owl I have to spend time slowly ap- proaching it to get within a good distance to take photographs of it."

By the numbers 

An adult snow owl  can eat 1600 lemmings in a year – that’s three to five every day. Apart from the fuzzy rodents, the owls consume rabbits, birds and fish. Unlike most owls, which are nocturnal, snowy owls are diurnal—they hunt and are active both during the day and night.