Nature and Photography Blog

Great Gray Owl

The Watcher In the Woods

About this picture: Great Gray Owls are one of my favorite birds. When I photographed this bird it was perfectly parallel to the tree.  I then changed my locations to the side of the owl which was now totally blocked by the same tree.  What I was anticipating was the owl peaking around the tree and looking at me which he did.  This viewpoint gives you a sense of mystery since his face is partially blocked.

The Great Gray Owl is the largest owl in North America. The Great Gray Owl has a body length of about 24 – 33 inches, a wingspan of 4 1/2 – 5 feet, and weighs only 1 1/2 – 3 pounds, despite its large size. Great Gray lacks ear tufts and has a relatively large head and small eyes. Like other owls, the great gray owl has eyes that face forward. This gives it depth perception. Also, like other owls, one of its ear holes is higher than the other. This helps it identify the source of a sound, which is useful in finding prey.

 Great Gray Owls prefer dense forests interspersed with open meadows, clearings, or bogs. This owl lives in taiga, boreal, and mountainous forests of North America

The main food of this owl is small mammals, like voles, but it will also eat birds, amphibians, and insects. They hunt mainly during dusk and dawn (crepuscular) from a perch at the forest edge or in a clearing, but will also hunt at night (nocturnal) and occasionally during the daytime (diurnal). They have a keen sense of hearing and can dive in the snow and catch a rodent that was not even visible.

Even Though they are the largest of the North American Owls they are Great Horned and Snowy Owls are stronger and weigh more.

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