Reader Michelle B. sends this short video of a boreal owl (Aegolius funereus) attempting to hunt under the snow in Minnesota. (The action begins about 45 sec in.) It fails: the snow is too hard and the prey too deep. The owl looks ticked off—but then owls always look ticked off!
The notes to the video, made by Christopher Wood, explain:
One of 7 different Boreal owls that we saw this day. I took this out of the van window while leading my WINGS MN in Winter tour. It was shot with a Canon Mark IV, 500mm + 1.4x, so it’s not particularly stable. It was -20F when this was shot so some of the images are soft from the heat waves created by the relatively warm 30F air coming from the van. It is very unusual for Boreal Owls to hunt during the day.
Notice how it swivels its head about 180 degrees. Some owls can even do 270° or more, and we’ll learn later how they do that.