Snowy Owl Tour – Great options for Winter 2024-2025

Saskatoon Custom Bird Tours

Email: birdtours [at] sasktel.net
Phone: 306 [then] 652 [then] 5975

 

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Full Day and Half Day Tours to view and photograph Snowy Owls

Private Half Day & Full Day Tours:

Daily: Most days from December 2024 – February 2025

To request a quote on a private tour, please email birdtours [at] sasktel [dot] net

Half Day Snowy Owl Photography Tour Times: 2:00 PM – 5:30 PM
$390 per vehicle with 1 – 4 persons.

Full Day Snowy Owl Photography Tour Times: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
From $590 per vehicle with 1 – 4 persons. See details below.

Extended Full Day Snowy Owl Photography Tour Times: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM **Recommended**
From $690 per vehicle with 1- 4 persons. See details below.

Public Snowy Owl Group Tours

Self-drive Bird Photography Tour out of Saskatoon, Canada.

Advance Registration Required.

Special Half Day Group Tour:

$290 per vehicle with 1 – 4 persons

  • TBA

Special Extended Full-Day Group Tours

From $490 per vehicle with 1 – 4 persons. See details below.

  • TBA

Snowy Owl Photography Tour Description

  • Join our experienced local birding guide for a 3.5-hour, 8-hour or 12-hour Snowy Owl Photography Tour. We will drive out of Saskatoon through a rural farming district reputed by owl experts to have the highest concentration of wintering Snowy Owls in the world!
  • Both novice and experienced bird watchers are welcome.
  • A loaner pair of binoculars may be available if requested. The leader will bring a spotting scope to allow you to view the birds under high magnification.
  • Novice photographers may optionally request the assistance of a professional wildlife photographer to help you choose the best camera settings during the tour.
  • Half Day Tour departs 2:00 PM and returns about 5:30 PM.
  • Full Day Tour departs 9:00 AM and returns about 5:00 PM.
  • Extended Full Day Tour departs at 8:00 AM and returns about 8:00 PM.
  • Other possible birds to be seen during full day tours may include Golden Eagle, Gyrfalcon, Prairie Falcon, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Gray Partridge, Snow Buntings, Common Redpolls, Common Raven, Bohemian Waxwing, Black-billed Magpie.
  • Both private tours and public group tours available.
  • Snowy Owl tours may be part of our Northern Owl Adventure Tour Series. It may be followed by our Forest Winter Birding Tour to view and photograph Great Gray Owls and Northern Hawk-owls.
  • Additional option during Private Full Day tour to visit the best hangout for wintering ducks and geese and Bald Eagles in the province.
  • Your guide volunteers his time so that all funds support the work of Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation charity.  The person paying for the tour will receive a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee.
  • We do NOT bait owls. Any owls we observe should be behaving naturally.

Ethical Owl Photography Policy

We feel it is important that we follow ethical owl photography techniques when photographing owls in the wild during our tours and workshops. We suggest clients read the Owl Observation and Photography Tips suggested by Birds Canada.

Our owl observation and photography policy includes the following key points designed to avoid disturbing any owls we find. Whenever we are near an owl, we will let you know what is permitted depending upon the distance and behaviour of the owl.

  • We do NOT bait owls. Baiting owls with food may alter their behaviour near people. Any owls we encounter should exhibit natural wild behaviour and may be wary of humans.
  • Clients should use a telephoto lens on your camera for the best images or view the owls using binoculars or with a spotting scope. When appropriate and requested, we will set up a high magnification spotting scope at a reasonable distance to avoid disturbing the owls.
  • In some situations, it is best to observe and photograph owls from inside a vehicle which may act as a blind. Bring a bean bag or window mount for your camera. Also bring 2 dark pieces of cloth (t-shirts, pillow cases, towels) to cover the windows on the opposite side of your vehicle from the owls so that they are less likely to see you move inside your vehicle.
  • In some circumstances, you may exit the vehicle on the side away from the owl and then crouch down to hide behind the vehicle for photography or observation.
  • Avoid talking loudly or making noise when an owl is close to us. We want the owl to be able to listen for its prey.

2 TOUR OPTIONS

Option A: Private 1-day or half-day Snowy Owl Tour for your group of 1 – 4 persons

  • Full Day or Half Day Private Escorted Birding Tour from Saskatoon to observe Snowy Owls.
  • Ideal for bird photographers. We will stop as long as you wish to photograph any Snowy Owls we encounter.
  • Available January through early March

Option B: 1 or 2 Day Public Group Tours

  • Join a small group of birders for 1 or 2 days of winter birding out of Saskatoon
  • Search for Snowy Owls plus other winter birds
  • Tentative half-day Snowy Owl Tour: Friday,  February 23, 2024 (Offered only if Snowy owls return to Saskatoon region)
  • Special Extended full-day Snowy Owl Tour: Sunday, February 10, 2024 ** Highly Recommended**
  • This option has the lowest daily cost.

What to Wear

Dress for the weather.
Wear winter hat, winter coat, warm pants and long underwear and winter snow boots.

Transportation

Participants on these tours need to drive their own personal or rented vehicle. RVs and vehicles pulling trailers are permitted on a private tour but not on group tours. Our half-day tour may be suitable for owners of full electric vehicles. Several Saskatoon hotels have EV charging stations.

Carpooling

If you would like to share the costs of a group tour with other interested birders or bird photographers, then complete the Carpooling Section of the Registration Request Form below or email the tour name, your name, phone number and email address to birdtours@sasktel.net

Weather Delay

If the weather forecast is stormy, we may need to postpone the tour to a later date.

Tour Fees

The following fees apply to any group of 1 – 4 persons travelling in a single vehicle.  It is your total fee. There are no per person fees. No additional taxes.

Full Day (8 hour) Private Snowy Owl Tour Fee: CAD $690 (about US$510,  £410) for a party of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included.
Fee includes guiding services and use of spotting scope. The person paying for the tour will receive a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee. Clients drive their own personal or rented vehicle.  Meals, transportation, accommodation and other costs are NOT included.
Trip normally begins at your hotel about 9 AM and ends about 5 PM. Later day trips are possible if you wish to photograph near sunset.
**Save $100** if you have room to transport leader in your non-smoking vehicle from Saskatoon and back.

Extended Full Day (12 hour) Private Snowy Owl Tour Fee: CAD $890 (about US$660,  £520) for a party of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included.
Fee includes guiding services and use of spotting scope. The person paying for the tour will receive a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee. Clients drive their own personal or rented vehicle.  Meals, transportation, accommodation and other costs are NOT included.
Trip normally begins at your hotel about 8 AM and ends about 8 PM. Later day trips are possible if you wish to photograph near sunset.
**Save $200** if you have room to transport leader in your non-smoking vehicle from Saskatoon and back.

Half Day Private Snowy Owl Tour Fee: CAD $390 (about US$290,  £250) for a party of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included.
Fee includes guiding services and use of spotting scope. The person paying for the tour will receive a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee. Clients drive their own personal or rented vehicle.  Meals, transportation, accommodation and other costs are NOT included.
Trip begins at your hotel about 2:00 PM and ends about 5:30 PM. This option available only when owls are near Saskatoon.

SPECIAL Half-DAY Snowy Owl Public Group Tour Fee: CAD $290 per vehicle (about US $215,  £185) for party of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included. 
Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Trip begins in Saskatoon at 2 pm and ends about 5:30 pm. You will be part of a car convoy with no more than 6 vehicles.

SPECIAL 1-DAY January 27, 2024 Combined Saskatoon Birdwatching / Snowy Owl Public Group Tour Fee: CAD $390 per vehicle (about US $290,  £250) for a party of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included. .
Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Morning Saskatoon Birdwatching Tour begins in Saskatoon at 9 am and ends about 12 noon.
Afternoon Snowy Owl Tour begins in Saskatoon at 2 pm and ends about 5:30 pm.

SPECIAL Extended Full-DAY Snowy Owl Public Group Tour Fee: CAD $690 per vehicle (about US $510,  £400) for group of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included..
Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Trip begins in Saskatoon at 8 am and ends in Saskatoon about 8 pm.
**SAVE $200** if you have room to transport 2 leaders in your vehicle during tour from Saskatoon and back in a non-smoking vehicle.

TAX RECEIPT: A tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee will be issued to the person paying for the tour.

Tax Receipts

CANCELLATION POLICY: Refunds less a $50 administration fee will be given if cancellation notice received 60 days before date of tour.
No refunds if cancellation notice received less than 60 days before date of tour unless another client takes your place.

Tour Reservations

RESERVATIONS: Please complete and submit the following form or email us your full name(s), mailing address, email address and requested tour dates.

E-mail: birdtours@sasktel.net
Phone: 306-652-5975

Full payment due at time of booking. Payment instruction will be emailed to you after registration form is received.

Mailing address needed for tax receipt.
Select all that apply. We will email payment instructions to you. Deductions available if you can transport leader in a non-smoking vehicle.
Select all that apply. We will email payment instructions to you.
Smoking is allowed only inside your own personal vehicle. No smoking is permitted during meals, anywhere in shared accommodations or outside during birding stops or hikes.

If you do not hear back from us within 24 hours, then please email: birdtours@sasktel.net or phone 306-652-5975.

Snowy Owl by Nick Saunders

Monthly Newsletter

Learn about special offers and new tours.
CLICK HERE to sign up for the monthly electronic Newsletter from Saskatoon Custom Bird Tours.

Owl Photography Workshops:

CLICK HERE for workshop details

Where is best place to see Snowy Owls?

Saskatoon is located at Center
of Snowy Owl Winter Range.

Snowy Owl Winter Range

Help with Camera Settings during Snowy Owl Tours

You may request the assistance of Boyd Coburn, professional wildlife photographer during your Snowy Owl photography tour.  He will ride in your vehicle and help you use the best camera settings to obtain optimal pictures with your camera and lens for the lighting conditions that you experience when photographing owls.  This optional add-on is available for an extra fee of $100 on half-day tours and $200 on full-day tours. You must request this option in advance.

Snowy Owl Snarls Traffic in Saskatoon

©️ Saskatoon Poet Glen Sorestad

Where did you come from, my splendid winged one?
Just passing through enroute to harry fields teeming
with mice and voles, your nocturnal vittles?

Click here for remainder of poem.

Bald Eagle by Nick Saunders

Golden Eagle by Nick Saunders

Tour Guide

Tour Guide: Stan Shadick. Click for more information about your tour guide.

Gift Certificates Available Now

GIFT CERTIFICATES: Click here for information about purchasing a gift certificate for this tour or any of our other tours.

Other Bird Photography Sessions

Other Birding Tours

Tour may be combined with:

Other Tours and Workshops: Click here to see a complete list of our upcoming tours and workshops.

 

Multiple Tours Discount

Can’t decide which tour to take?

Check out our multiple tours discount described here.

Previous Tour Client Images

Here are images of a Snowy Owls in flight captured by Mark Langner during a 2024 tour. We found 37 Snowy Owls on that extended full day trip.

Snowy Owl in flight
Snowy Owl in flight by Mark Langner
Snowy Owl flying left
Snowy Owl flying left by Mark Langner

Here is an image of one Snowy Owl captured by client Brian Henderson during a 2021 tour. We found 3 Snowys on that afternoon trip.

Snowy Owl
by Brian Henderson

Proceeds support Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation

Information about Snowy Owl research near Saskatoon is available here.
According to international researchers the highest concentration of wintering Snowy Owls occurs near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada. This behavior makes this tour your best option for finding these majestic birds.

Covid Safety Policy on Tours

  1. Your tour leader is fully vaccinated including booster.
  2. Clients must normally drive themselves in their own personal or rented vehicle. The leader will usually drive in a separate vehicle. We will use cell phones to communicate between each other during the tour.
  3. This policy may change when public health orders change or when Covid case numbers decrease.
  4. Please contact us before booking tour if you have any special requests with regard to this policy. In certain cases, if requested, leader may be willing to ride in client’s vehicle or drive client’s vehicle.

How to get to Saskatoon

Air: Saskatoon International Airport (YXE) is served by Air Canada, Westjet and their U.S. partners United and Delta.

Air Canada Star Alliance partners also include Aegean, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels, Copa, Croatia, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, EVA, Lot, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen, Singapore, South African, Swiss, TAP, Thai, Turkish, United.

Westjet international partners include AeroMexico, Air France, Air Transat, Azores, Cathay Pacific, China, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Emirates, Hainan, Hong Kong, Japan, KLM, Korean, LATAM, Philippine, Quantas, Virgin Atlantic, Xiamen.

Train: Saskatoon’s  Train Station is served by Via Rail’s Canadian train serving Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper and Vancouver.

Bus: Saskatoon – Edmonton and Saskatoon – Regina bus service

Car: Saskatoon is located on Canada’s Yellowhead cross-country highway plus 6 other major highways connecting with all cities in Canada and USA. If you drive, you do not need to rent a car for our tours.

Entering Canada

CLICK HERE for government regulations for entering Canada.
My recent fully vaccinated international clients tell me there are no significant delays at the border provided they have fully completed the ArriveCan app in advance.