by Jeff Goulden
Scientists don't know for sure what causes an irruption, but it is almost certainly linked to cycles in the lemming population. A Snowy Owl will consume 3 to 5 lemmings per day so the survival of Snowy Owls depend on this food source. Since most of the owls at Ocean Shores are dark spotted juveniles it is thought that the younger birds were forced by older owls out of their native habitat in search of alternative food. Ocean Shores with its abundant population of shore birds is an ideal substitute for the owls' native arctic tundra.
November through March are probably the ideal months to visit Damon Point if you want to see Snowy Owls. Visitors need to respect the bird’s habitat and privacy. Snowy Owls are relatively calm birds but don't like to be harassed. If you want to photograph the owls use a telephoto lens, keep a respectful distance and don't rush toward them. If the bird begins to move as you slowly approach, back off.
For more information and directions to the point go to the Washington Trails Association. To learn more about birding in the Grays Harbor area go to the Grays Harbor Audubon Society.
More pictures of Snowy Owls can be seen in my Snowy Owls Gallery at Istockphoto.com. Other bird species can be seen in my Joy of Birds Gallery. A limited selection of my bird pictures are available as prints in my Birds Gallery on Fine Art America. For special offers and to follow my photographic journey please Join My Email List.