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Snowy Owl

        | HSW

Mother Owl sits on her eggs.
Mother Owl sits on her eggs.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The long winter's snow is just beginning to melt away as Mother Snowy Owl scrapes a shallow nest on top of a very small hill. In spring it is cold on the Arctic tundra.

The ground is still wet, so Mother Owl lines the nest with moss and feathers. She settles into the nest, then she calls to Father Snowy Owl.

Father Snowy Owl must take good care of Mother Owl for the next few months. She has a very big job to do, and Father Owl is going to help.

Mother Owl lays a glossy white egg in the nest and sits on top of it, sharing the warmth of her body with the egg. Father Owl brings a lemming for Mother Owl to eat. He brings food to her so she doesn't have to leave the nest.

The next day, Mother Owl lays another white egg, and two days after that another, until there are eight eggs in the nest.

Mother Owl's feathers are mostly white. Her white feathers help Mother Owl blend in with the snow that makes up her environment.

The springtime wildflowers bloom bright as Mother Owl sits patiently on the nest. She and Father Owl call to each other to keep in touch.

As the long spring days pass, Father Owl makes many flights to hunt for lemmings and hares. He flies swiftly and silently. Father Owl brings back meals caught in his sharp claws.

Father Owl brings food back for Mother.
Father Owl brings food back for Mother.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The lemmings that Father Owl caught are mouse-size animals that burrow beneath the snow in the late fall, winter, and early spring. They come out in the warmer months.

Other tundra animals -- arctic foxes and weasels, falcons and hawks -- are also hunting for the lemmings. Father Owl competes with foxes and wolves when he hunts for hares.

Father Owl has excellent hearing and eyesight which helps him to spy prey first. His eyes are very large. And although he can't move his eyes around very much, his head is very flexible.

Father Owl can sneak up on his prey, too. His feathers are extremely light, so when he flies he makes no sound. His prey can't run away because they don't hear him coming.

The baby owls have hatched from their eggs.
The baby owls have hatched from their eggs.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Finally the first tiny owlet hatches out of the first egg laid by Mother Owl. This first little owl is called Baby Snowy, and he is covered with soft white down.

To find out what happens next in "Snowy Owl," go to the next page.

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