Mission for Snowy Owls

Mission Range and the valley below

Mission Range and the valley below

Before I could bear to watch the Green Bay Packers lose to the Giants, Tom and I went up into the Mission Valley on a Snowy Owl mission.

We initially checked around the Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge and the surrounding agricultural lands, and we turned up nada. No Snowy Owls or much else, other than Gray Partridge and ring-necked Pheasants. Coming to the conclusion that we should try up near Polson, we fired off along Highway 93 and arrived in Polson in no time.

The Mission Mountains from near the National Bison Range

The Mission Mountains from near the National Bison Range

The Missions from another perspective

The Missions from another perspective

The Mission valley from the fields north of Charlo

The Mission valley from the fields north of Charlo

The long, empty road near Charlo, MT

The long, empty road near Charlo, MT

Once we arrived at Polson, we soon found one Snowy Owl on top of a cell tower. which was quickly followed by 5 others. All of these were perched atop houses on the subdivision atop the hill. We speculated that they were making use of the roofs because they were warmer than perching on a fence post or rock.

Snowy Owl being not the least bit concerned

Snowy Owl being not the least bit concerned

The best Snowy Owl image I have been able to capture.

The best Snowy Owl image I have been able to capture.

Snowy Owl on top of house - not exactly natural

Snowy Owl on top of house - not exactly natural

The roof must be a great place for a nap

The roof must be a great place for a nap

The reason for all these Snowy Owls this winter is the epic explosion in the vole population this year. Everywhere you walk, you hear the little buggers scurrying through their tunnels.

Presumptive Meadow Vole aka Lunch

Presumptive Meadow Vole aka Lunch

Written by Radd Icenoggle

I am a native Montanan, who has spent a lifetime as an outdoors and wildlife enthusiast. I earned a degree in biology with an emphasis on habitat relations. During my studies, I had the great fortune to research and compose a thesis that explored the effects of slope aspect on...
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