Birds are unique creatures and what could be more interesting to study but how they utilize their feathers. These Snowy Owls are like immaculate visions. They use their reflective white feathers in order to reflect the sunlight and of course, warn their rivals of their presence. The white feathers can reflect blinding light that can be seen over long distances. If the owl has a very white feather, the light signals that they can emit are much higher and this is what they use when on the ground to enhance the glare. The researches were done by institutes in Canada and Spain and they have conducted studies across several winters. The snowy owls will have feathers ranging from brown to pure white and the color is affected by their age as well as their sex.
The mature snowy owls show the brightest white feathers and this is very good for their snowy environments. The concentration of the whitest feathers per bird will be around the breast, the throat and the face. According to the study, the owls position themselves to place the whitest parts where the sun is shining. Due to their high reflectance on their faces, it has been said that this serves a very good purpose for signaling. This means that owls from long distances will be able to detect signals that are reflected from white feathers which are considered as the most effective signaling color. They use their feathers to warn rivals that they are present in the area and no one should come close to their area.
When perched on one position, the snowy owls would rotate their heads and bodies to the position of the sun, following its light until the night time comes. The orientation of the sun, where the light emits most advantageously will help the birds in reflecting the best possible light to ward off enemies and rivals. The spotted ones, those who have speckles of brown feathers on their bodies prefer to go for high places like electric poles to increase their intake of light and intensify the signals.
The pure white birds are basically males or older birds and on snowy locations, they tend to signal others from the ground. These birds have perfect white feathers that they can use to take advantage of the light reflected from the snow called albedo. Even the pattern of the feathers can mean something visually for birds. In some cases, you will see birds perched on the snow, but they are staring directly at the sun and they are capable of doing that because of the thick bristle like eyelashes that they have that reduces the glare of the sun, keeping them protected.
It is very interesting to study and analyze how birds communicate and how their plumage can serve a great deal of purpose in keeping their territories safe. With these new studies, there are still a number of things that are being studied so that a more in depth picture of this magnificent looking bird can be seen.