White Death Strikes from Above



Image: Quebec government

Rarely has there been a purer image of death from above as that of the Snowy Owl swooping down out of the sky on its prey, the hushed sound of its feathers moving the air the only sign of impending doom for the animal scuttling along on the frozen floor. The mouse or lemming will soon find itself enveloped in the death embrace of this colourless bird of prey – seized in the lethal grip of its razor-sharp talons.


Image: Quebec government

Death is milliseconds away: Snowy Owl about to sink its talons into its prey.

Caught in the shadow of its killer’s metre-and-half long wingspan, the tiny creature skidding along on the ice is one rodent among thousands for the veracious Snowy Owl. To keep up its strength in the freezing wastes of its wintry habitat, this powerful predator must capture and devour between seven and twelve mice every day, and can eat over 1,600 lemmings each year.

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