A local sculptor is doing a statue of a snowy and I have been supplying him picts. I was trying to visually answer the questions: what is the snowy "Mask" and do they have ears.
The mask is made of fine feathers that form sort of a protective tunnel around each eye for wind protection ( my interpretation ). The picts were taken on the beach with a stiff wind and very low temps- about 22deg F ( good for fluffing feathers, bad for my fingers ) had to balance lighting with getting a position were the wind was not causing camera shake. The profile image shows what I think is his ear.
Snowy Owl - portrait session in the dunes.Profile with ear
Canon 60D - 100-400mm
ISO160, 400mm, f/7.1, 1/1600 handheld, manual, - center focus
Snowy Owl - portrait session in the dunes. Front view
ISO120, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/1600 handheld, manual, - center focus