Known for their beautiful white plumage, the snowy owls have moved into their new home signaling the completion of the
Zoo’s award-winning Glacier Run exhibit. Native to the Arctic region, the snowy owl is a stunning and mysterious looking animal. That could explain why it was chosen as a iconic character in the Harry Potter novels. Its signature plumage, which ranges from pure white for males to white with some darker specks for females, serves as very effective camouflage in their frigid habitat.
The new exhibit was designed to resemble a rustic outbuilding sitting on the outskirts of an Arctic town – in this case, Glacier Run. The inside is equally themed having an industrial feel with trusses running down the center which serve as perches for the birds.
The Zoo’s snowy owl exhibit will showcase both a male that came from the Netherlands and a female from the Minnesota Zoo. Because snowy owl populations are on the decline, the Zoo’s exhibit was designed deliberately to support a breeding program and help contribute to North America’s snowy owl population. According to Gary Michael, curator of birds at the Zoo, Europe has had more luck breeding these beautiful birds; researchers believe this is due to the region’s cooler climate and better air quality. The interior temperature of our exhibit will reside at a cool 55 degrees with a climate-controlled system and a high quality air filtration system that will help keep the air purified. The hope is that these special accommodations will encourage breeding.