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Snowy Owl

        | HSW

Snowy Owl, Part II
A caribou gets too close to the owls' nest.
A caribou gets too close to the owls' nest.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Below is the second part of "Snowy Owl."

As soon as Snowy is able to eat, Father and Mother Owl feed him tender bits they have stored nearby. The next day, another owlet hatches. After ten days, Snowy has seven brothers and sisters.

Owls eat insects, birds, and small mammals. But owls cannot digest bones and fur, so after they're done eating they bring up small pellets of bone and fur.

A caribou wanders too close to the family's nest. Mother and Father Owl shrill "krick-krick, krick-krick" to drive him off. Snowy also tries his hardest to "krick-krick."

The caribou looks up from his grazing. When the caribou turns away from the nest, Father Owl calls out a loud "ho-ho."

Father Owl's call could probably be heard from very far away. His loud call let the caribou know that he has come too close to the nest. The caribou eats some more grass and then walks away.

Caribou are visitors to the tundra during the summertime, but shaggy musk oxen live there all year round. Musk oxen and caribou eat the grasses, leaves, and mosses that abound in the long days of summer.

Snowy and his family watch the musk oxen. Like other owls, Snowy can turn his head around to see what's behind him. Most owls can turn their heads to face the backs of their bodies. And some owls can turn them even farther!

Snowy and his brothers and sisters are growing bigger daily. Mother Owl no longer needs to cover them in the nest. Mother Owl stands guard near the nest while Father Owl searches for a hare to feed the large family.

During the midsummer, when the Arctic nights are as light as day, Snowy steps out of the nest and spreads his wings.

Most owls are nocturnal, meaning they are active only at night when it's dark. But Snowy lives in the tundra where sometimes the sun shines all night.

Snowy Owl spots a goose flying above.
Snowy Owl spots a goose flying above.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Snowy steps slowly down the small hill. He is the first owlet in the family to climb over the rocks and walk through all of the wildflowers near the nest. He sees a snow goose gliding above him.

Snowy is so happy he hoots. Mother Owl and the owlets look over from the nest to make sure Snowy is safe.

One day, Snowy will be big enough to fly away from the nest and start his own family. He will always be smaller than his sisters, though. Male owls are smaller than female owls.

Snowy Owl rests after a busy day.
Snowy Owl rests after a busy day.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Snowy spends many hours exploring the frozen tundra around the nest. Day by day, his brothers and sisters become explorers, too, as they grow old enough to leave the nest.

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