It’s late October heading into November and you know you will be leaving home soon. It’s getting colder, but the summer was nice warming on average to around 46 degrees. Some days it even got into the 50’s which was great. But now the days are growing shorter and the nights are much colder especially when that wind blows across the tundra. It doesn’t much bother you, but the food seems to be a bit less plentiful than it was this summer.
It’s peaceful here in the wide open spaces. You can see long distances, and there aren’t many people here to bother you. With a lot of newcomers this year, though, you’ll have to move south a little to find food. Since you might eat over 1600 lemmings a year, it’s best to search out food for the winter and leave the older folks here at home. It’s tough to leave, but you’ll be back stronger than ever.

You’re the heaviest owl in North America with bright white feathers and black and brown barred markings. If you are a male you will get paler and whiter as time goes on. If you are a female you’ll keep those markings for the rest of your life. But, you have long wings averaging 5+ feet that will take you anywhere you want. As you silently take off for an unknown destination, you fly at your own will sightseeing as you go.

Some of your friends might fly just a little ways, others might fly to the Great Lakes area and some to New England. Others have flown as far away as across the Atlantic Ocean and into Russia, but you aren’t feeling that energetic. You decide to fly south and maybe a bit east since you have come to like warmer weather.

As your meandering path takes you a couple of thousand of miles, you come across this really nice stretch of land that looks like back home. It looks like everything you may need is right here. You decide to fly a little lower to take one last look before you decide, and it isn’t long until you get settled in on Assateague Island.

It takes a minute, but since you are a deadly hunter and hungry it isn’t long until you decide to have your choice of seagull, duck, field mice or anything else this little vacation spot has for you to eat. The food is good and the weather is great… What else could you ask for.

Not only that, you are also famous. You had no idea so many people wanted to take images of you. But, since you are on vacation it quickly gets annoying. It was cool at first, but as time goes on the crowds of people are just getting in your way. You now know why you don’t fly to Hollywood.

Although you mostly hunt at night, you are known to be diurnal hunting both day and night. During the day while you are here on vacation, you decide to chill out on a dune. You spend the day stretching, yawning, scratching, ruffling the feathers, pruning, watching for predators or prey. You cannot move your eyes, so you are programmed to constantly move your head back and forth, up and down. You have 14 vertebrae that helps you move your head up to 270 degrees.

As the day goes on, sometimes you decide to sit on a dune all day long, and other days you feel like moving here and there. No real plans, you are on vacation.

But, soon it is time to go. Maybe the days are getting warmer, maybe the food is getting scarce or maybe your mind is telling you it’s time to head home. So, just like that you wake up and decide it is time to start flying home.

Of course it sounds easy, but there are a lot of distractions. Airports and aircraft, flying too low along a highway and getting too close to powerlines with those long wings of yours could lead to an early death. You would like to live as long as the oldest female known to you which was almost 24 years so it’s important to take care of yourself. You fly cautiously and with purpose following that roadmap you laid out for yourself to get home.

When you arrive it is such a good feeling. You feel so great and find yourself a boyfriend or a girlfriend and decide to have some kids. You spend the beginning of summer back home raising them to be just as skillful and deadly as you are so they too will have a long successful life.

You are so proud and fulfilled being a snowy owl. After the kids leave the nest you sit back and think how good you have it and hope your kids also learn as you did. You wish them well on their life’s journey hoping they are just as wise as you are.

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