The snowy owl needs little introduction. This massive white owl breeds throughout the Arctic, wherever there are voles or lemmings to hunt, from Scandinavia through northern Russia to Canada and Greenland. Southerly movements in winter see North American birds travel as far south as the northern United States, while infrequent vagrants on the Shetlands and other northern isles are a magnet for birders.
The Snowy Owl gives this popular bird the full Poyser treatment, with sections looking at morphology, distribution, palaeontology and evolution, habitat, breeding, diet, population dynamics, movements, interspecific relationships and conservation, supported by some fabulous photography and the art of Jackie Garner. A major strength is the availability to the authors of Russian literature, which is generally out of reach for Western scientists.
List of figures
List of tables
1. What makes a Snowy Owl?
3. Palaentology, systematics and evolution
4. Winter and summer habitats
6. Timing and hatching
8. Numbers and population density
9. Winter range and winter records
10. Snowy Owl friends and foes
11. Snowy Owls and people
Raptor specialist Eugene Potapov and Arctic expert Richard Sale form a talented and experienced authorship team that has written some superb books for Christopher Helm. Their first Poyser title, The Gyrfalcon (2005), was the winner of The Wildlife Society's 'Best Science Book 2006' award; Richard Sale's most recent work, A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife (2006) is a spectacular addition to the Helm list.
"[...] The text is somewhat heavy at times, but is supported by attractive drawings by Jackie Garner and a wide range of photographs. Most of these are good, but a number by the authors fall below the levels that I would accept – for example those on pages 84 and 103 (both supplied by the authors). If you need to know all that has been published about the Snowy Owl, it is all here and well organised."
- Keith Betton, Birding World 26(8), September 2013
"[...] In conclusion, I highly recommend this impressively detailed monograph on the Snowy Owl to anyone wishing to deepen their knowledge of the biology of a fantastic species which is adapted to live in continuous sunlight in summer and continuous darkness in winter, but which is now threatened by the effects of global warming."
- Pertti Saurola, Ibis 156, 2014