In recognition of the annual visits by numerous Snowy Owls to Rudyard Township, the Michigan House of Representatives passed House Resolution No. 346 declaring Rudyard as the Snowy Owl Capital of Michigan.
Snowy owls (Bubo Scandiacus) are a protected species native to the arctic regions of North America that frequent Michigan during the winter months and are definite guests to the Rudyard area of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The bird is a yellow-eyed, black beaked, white bird also identified by its large size of 20-28 inches long, wing span of 49-59 inches, 3.5-6.6 pounds, making it one of the largest owl species and the heaviest in North America. Snowy owl males are white while immature males and females tend to have dark spots. A Snow Owl, has a life span of ten years.
This nomadic bird nests in arctic tundra though they winter south through Canada as well as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Snowy owls are attracted to winter areas that are open and that appear somewhat similar to tundra. As diurnal (night and day) hunters they sit patiently on fence post, telephone poles and hay bales waiting for their desired diets, small rodents such as meadow voles and deer mice, requiring seven to twelve per day to meet food needs. Rudyard lands have these attributes and meet habitat criteria making it a frequent winter hunting ground and a superior area for the snowy owls.
Snowy owls arrive in November and stay until March or April and the official Annual Audubon National Christmas Bird Count of seventeen snowy owls in 2017, twenty-nine in 2018, thirteen in 2019, three in 2020, twenty-three in 2021 and five sighted in 2022 shows the Rudyard area has a consistent winter population of snowy owls. The 2018 count of twenty-nine snowy owls, was the highest one-day snowy owl numbers in both Michigan and the United States;
The honorable John DaMoose as well as Kelly Breen and Jim Haadsma sponsored the resolution as members of Michigan House of Representatives 2022 legislative body and guided the resolution to officially honor Rudyard, Michigan as the Snowy Owl Capital of Michigan.
Residents of Michigan who enjoy bird viewing and bird photography are encouraged to visit Rudyard, for the excellent opportunity to view snowy owls.
More information about visiting Rudyard can be obtained by contacting Rudyard Township by visiting the website rudyardtownship.org or calling 906-478-5041.