Great Gray Owl
Great Gray Owl: Large owl, dark gray body interspersed with bars and flecks of brown, pale gray, and white. Head is large and without ear tufts. Yellow eyes are relatively small. Bulky appearance when perching due to dense, fluffy plumage, long wings extending past body, and relatively long tail.
Range and Habitat
Great Gray Owl: Found from Alaska across Canada, down the northern Rocky Mountains, and in northern Minnesota; also in northern Europe and Asia. Preferred habitats include stunted coniferous forests along the edge of the Arctic treeline and mixed or coniferous forests.
The Great Gray Owl is a large owl located throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Its preferred breeding grounds are found in North America, including Lake Superior, the Pacific coast and Alaska, Scandinavia and northern Asia. These birds are typically permanent residents. However, low food supplies may cause them to fly south and southeast at times. A secluded population also exists in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. Breeding habitats are dense coniferous woodlands and open areas such as meadowlands. This species does not build its own nest; it typically uses nests left from other large birds. They feed almost exclusively on voles and small rodents. This species’ conservation rating is Least Concern.
The Great Gray Owl was first described by Johann Reinhold Forster in 1772. They have also been called the Phantom of the north, Spectral Owl, Lapland Owl, Spruce Owl, Bearded Owl and Sooty Owl.
They have been known to drive off predators as large as black bears when defending their nest.
When hot, they will pant and droop their wings, exposing an unfeathered area called an apterid.
A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a "bazaar", "glaring", "parliament", "stooping", and "wisdom" of owls.