Saturday, October 27, 2012

Great Grey Owl

Great Grey Owl
The great grey owl is a large owl that is found in the boreal forests of North America, Europe and Asia. They are the largest owl in the world, by length and wingspan. Their size is deceptive though, even compared to other owls. There are several other owl species that are not as tall but still out weigh the great grey, including the Eurasian eagle owl, Blackiston's fish owl, snowy owl and great horned owl. Great grey owls also have small feet compared to other large owls and because of this in general they hunt smaller prey. They mostly hunt field mice and voles. Great grey owls do sometimes breed in northeast Minnesota. More often we see them migrate down from Canada when there are shortages of prey species on their normal range. Each winter a few of these birds are spotted in the northern part of Minnesota. These are usually young birds that probably do not have an established territory. When there is a prey crash we can get an invasion and see many more of these owl. In the winter of 2004-2005 we had an unprecedented invasion where it was estimated that over 5000 great grey owls came down from Canada. During that winter it was easy to see great grey owls perched, like above, or even hunting in plain sight in the middle of the day. While it was exciting to see these exotic owls it was also sad because many died due to starvation or where hit by cars.    


5 comments:

Scotkat said...

What a beauty excellent shot.

Cheryl said...

What a beautiful bird and how lucky you are to have seen this one and so many more in earlier years.

Thanks for sharing with Your Sunday Best this week.

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

This is an amazing bird, and you captured it beautifully. I have various kind of birds living in my garden, including a couple of hawks that nest here every year. We get owls too, but not often. I heard one the other night, but did not get to see it. Blessings!

Lighthousegal said...

Great shot of the owl, very nice.

Nancy Claeys said...

A magnificent bird -- I would love to see one in flight, they are so large.