close
close

Snowy Owls Return to Regina Area for Winter

Snowy Owls Return to Regina Area for Winter
Snowy Owls Return to Regina Area for Winter

Snow looks set to fall in the Regina area after several snowy owls were spotted around the city.

Birdwatchers and photographers have seen the owls roosting and flying in areas south of Regina.

The visit comes as no surprise to Regina’s birding community. The owls breed north of the Arctic Circle on tundra and migrate south at this time of year, with many ending up in rural areas around Regina.

The snowy owls have migrated from the Arctic Circle to areas outside Regina for the winter.

Owls are easier to spot when there is little snow on the ground. (Submitted by John Criton)

Ryan Fisher, curator of vertebrate zoology at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, says the birds generally stay out of the city, preferring the southern parts of the area where there are fewer trees.

“Nobody really knows why, but my theory is that it’s a lot like the Arctic tundra,” Fisher said. “There’s not a lot of trees, there’s nice short grass, there’s probably a lot of small mammals — mice and voles running around.”

Fisher said the Regina area is one of many places below treeline where you can spot the birds with their wings spread in winter.

He said the lack of snow makes it easier to spot the white birds and is a great pleasure for many people who enjoy seeing them.

“They are majestic creatures, they are simply breathtaking,” says nature and wildlife photographer Cathy Wall.

Cathy Wall says the snowy owl is one of her favorite birds to photograph. Wall said she looks forward to seeing them again in the Regina area this winter.

Cathy Wall says the snowy owl is one of her favorite birds to photograph. Wall said she looks forward to seeing them again in the Regina area this winter. (Submitted by Cathy Wall)

Wall said she first photographed the snowy owls in 2022. She said they are one of her favorite birds to capture on camera and she was eager to capture more photos during their short visit this year.

“It’s not like the Black-Capped Chickadee that’s here year-round and you can go out and take pictures at any time,” she said. “It’s great to capture them if you can while they’re here and you just get such great, beautiful pictures.”

Fisher said people are often excited to see owls because they are birds of prey.

“You’re looking at an animal that is at the top of the food chain in this area,” he said.

Fisher said it’s not known whether recent high temperatures will affect their migration this year, but he did say their presence in the province is typically consistent each year.

Here are images of snowy owls in the Regina area captured by Sask. bird photographers

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl (submitted by Allan Barilla)

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl (submitted by Tyler Singer)

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl (submitted by Cathy Wall)

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl (submitted by John Criton)