Among raptors it's often hard to tell the difference between a male and female, because there is no sexual dimorphism with coloration in most birds of prey. This is not the case with adult Snowy Owls, where the female is barred and the male is almost pure white. And then it gets even trickier when a juvenile species looks very similar to an adult female.
In cases like this, we can usually look at the size of the bird to guide us; in raptors the female is generally larger and heavier than the males. This presumably allows the bigger female to cover and protect her young in the nest while the lighter, smaller male hunts to feed his mate and offspring.
This is a comparison of a younger male j Juneau) on the left and an adult female (Ella) on the right As you can see, Juneau may have the barring that could cause the confusion of calling him a female, but he is smaller in width and height to Ella. His feet are much smaller and while he weighs in around 3 pounds, Ella weighs closer to 4.
They are both very special birds, at the Medina Raptor Center we are strict about only handling them when the temps are below 40--with their extremely dense feathers, they can overheat easily and the health and wellness of the birds comes first. Always. This is one of the only reasons that I look forward to winter. 😁. #medinaraptorcrenter #snowyowl #raptorsrule #ilovemylife