Goodbye Snow, Hello Snowy Owls!

Mon, 04/25/2011

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - April 25, 2011 - Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is pleased to welcome four Snowy Owls, two males and two females. Born last July at the Hannover Zoo in Hannover, Germany, the four birds are brothers and sisters. After being quarantined for 30 days upon their arrival in the United States, the Snowy Owls made their way to Connecticut's only zoo on April 8, 2011. One pair is currently on exhibit in the former Lynx exhibit, between the Amur tigers and Andean bears. A date for the other pair to make their public debut has not yet been determined.

"A lot of folks will recognize the Snowy Owl from its Hollywood debut in the "Harry Potter" series," explained Gregg Dancho, Zoo Director. "Harry's owl, Hedwig, served as a trusted ally to the young wizard. Our Snowy Owls won't be delivering mail anytime soon, but we're sure they will be a hit with the public." 

Like other northern species of raptors, these birds have proven to be very susceptible to West Nile Virus, resulting in their loss at a number of zoos and nature centers, as well as breeding facilities, over the last few years. Because conservation is a core part of the Zoo's mission, efforts to locate an unrelated pair with which the birds may mate.

Weighing in around four to five pounds, the owls have an average wingspan of five and a half feet and stand about two feet tall. While the males are primarily white, the females have gray and black barring on their chests and wings making it easier to tell them apart. As the female birds get older, they will become whiter much like their brothers. The average lifespan of Snowy Owls in the wild is only about 10 years, but in captivity they can live for up to 25 or more years.

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