Snowy Owls are very large owls with smoothly rounded heads and no ear tufts. The body is bulky, with dense feathering on the legs that makes the bird look wide at the base when sitting on the ground. Snowy Owls are white birds with varying amounts of black or brown markings on the body and wings. On females this can be quite dense, giving the bird a salt-and-pepper look. Males tend to be paler and become whiter as they age. The eyes are yellow.
The bird that I saw was a spectacular female. A beautiful large white owl, with brown to black markings that gave her a salt and pepper look. Viewed with a scope from about 100 yards, I couldn't believe her size! Snowy Owls are the largest owl by weight in North America at 4 pounds; compared to 3.4 pounds for the Great Horned Owl. Sitting in the sand, approximately 75 yards from the ocean, this bird was utterly breath-taking to the 14 birders who made the trip. I myself was looking at my 3rd Snowy, but first in NC, and I again was just amazed at her beauty. Numerous birders have travelled to the Outer Banks to look at this owl, many of which have never seen one before. Some birders even came from 6-7 hours away, to see in my opinion, the most magnificent looking owl. The bird seems primarily comfortable, even with all the birders who are seeking that "perfect" photograph, however she is moving about during the day when other birds or people are getting too close. Recent Snowy Owl wanderers do stay put for several weeks if undisturbed, so many more folks will have the opportunity to see her.
I hope they enjoy this very rare owl as much as I did.