A juvenile male snowy owl is on the hunt. After being patiently perched high in a tree for well over two hours, he swoops down across a remote northern Minnesota lake with his sights on a snowshoe hare that is moving along the shoreline. He is a long way from his home well above the Arctic Circle, leaving in September in a search of an area with fewer owls. Hatched in late spring, the main food source for snowies are lemmings of which there is a bumper crop this year, so many lemmings that many of this owl's siblings have also survived. The nest he was hatched in was even lined with the carcasses of lemmings by his mother, typical of an abundant year of lemmings. With so many other snowy owls around, he decides to move south in search of food and less competition from other owls. As soon as snow covers the ground he is once again on the move southward and will eventually get as far south as Duluth, MN. There he will spend Thanksgiving, Christmas and the rest of the winter, finding the rodent population that feed off the spilled grain near the waterfront grain terminals to his liking.
Although snowy owls hunt much of the time during the day, this night he has very perceptively seen the movement of that snowshoe hare. The Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis, have not only given him more visibility for sighting prey but must also make him feel like he's back home.