SNOWY OWL HEDWIG TAKES A BATH! -By Kim Smith

Filming and photographing Cape Ann wildlife I have experienced extraordinary beauty and fascinating behaviors at nearly every encounter but filming a Snowy Owl take a bath has to be one of my favorite captures. I think there are a number of reasons why we are so captivated by these beautiful creatures. Most owls are nocturnal, which doesn’t allow much viewing of their day to day life. On the other hand, the diurnal Snowy Owl gives us a wonderful window into their world. Culturally, owls symbolize wisdom and intelligence and the characters they are assigned in literature strengthen our associations. Mostly though we are drawn to these creatures because they do not appear to be afraid of us, unlike most wild animals. Snowies will become irritated and depart an area when startled, or are being pestered, but I don’t sense fear in these Arctic visitors. I wonder if most have ever even seen a human being prior to migrating south.

Hedwig was a contented mess, her feet and talons blood stained reddish pink from a fresh kill. It was the morning after a storm, and the crevices atop Bass Rocks held pools of icy fresh water.

She gingerly at first hopped over to the largest pool, paused, and then jumped in. Repeatedly Hedwig dipped her face into the water to drink. After quenching her thirst, she plunged her entire face into the pool of water. She cleaned her face feathers by rubbing them against her breast feathers. Immersing, rubbing, immersing, rubbing, her face was clean in no time.

Then Hedwig went all in, dipping and soaking all her feathers, but not all at once did she completely submerge herself. I think that would have left her vulnerable to predators if she were unable to fly. She dipped and soaked, then fluffed her feathers, then repeated all several times more. The total length of time was about 40 minutes; she was still fluffing when I had to leave. Watching a Snowy Owl take a winter bath was beautiful and fascinating, unexpected and funny and am overjoyed to have captured with photos and film.

Happiness is a long winter bath.

A flock of Herring Gulls had the same idea. 

18 thoughts on “SNOWY OWL HEDWIG TAKES A BATH! -By Kim Smith

  1. These are so much fun to look at. How blessed you are to have witnessed it live! I would be floating on air if I had seen it, let alone gotten great pictures. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I live in Northern Va now and follow your posts daily. These are extraordinary photos and what a pleasure to see these beautiful birds with such detail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anonymous so very much for your comment, so very appreciated. Have you any sightings of Snowies in Virginia? I met a scientist who actually took a photograph from an irruption in 2012, on a beach in Florida. That same year, one was seen in Bermuda.

      Like

Leaving a comment rewards the author of this post- add to the discussion here-

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s