Great grey owl lifespan and facts

Great grey owl
These owls can ferret out their prey even from 12 inches underneath the snow. One of the world’s largest owls, the Great Grey Owl hurtles headfirst into deep snow to snatch rodents—diving with such power that they can share snow crust thick enough to hold an 80-kilogram person! They locate hidden prey with the help of large facial disks that funnel sound to their ears.

The owl has also been called Great Grey Ghost, Phantom of the north, Cinereous Owl, Spectral Owl, Lapland Owl, Spruce Owl, Bearded Owl and Sooty Owl. Great Grey Owls are found from Alaska across Canada, down the Northern Rocky Mountains, and northern Minnesota. They are also found in northern Europe and Asia.

Generally active at night, the great greys fly with soft, slow wingbeats close to the ground, usually less than 6 metres (20 feet) up, except when flying to a nest. It has a distanceve primary call which is a very soft, low-pitched hoot “whooo-ooo-ooo-ooo” with the notes EMI ed slowly over a 6 to 8 second period. Calls are repeated every 15 to 30 seconds. When threatened, a Great Grey Owl will snap its beak, spread its wings, and growl. 

The Great Gray Owl hunts mainly during early morning and late afternoon, especially during winter. Small rodents are their primary prey (80 to 90% of diet) with voles, pocket gophers, rats, mice, shrews, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, moles, and weasels being the most important food. Birds are rarely captured and include crows, small hawks, American Robin, ducks and grouse. Frogs, toads, snakes, and insects are taken very infrequently.

Unlike most other owls, their nests are usually tidied up and refurbished before use. Nest linings include conifer needles, deer hair, moss, and shredded bark. On an average 2 to 5 eggs are laid, each separated by 1 to 2 days. Incubation lasts 28 to 29 days. The female does all incubation and the male provides all food to the female and young. The female tears food into small pieces and feeds the young. Males and females aggressively defend nests and have been known to drive off predators as large as black bears. Among other threats, ravens and Great

Horned Owls prey on eggs and nestlings.

The Great Gray Owls are long-lived birds, with captive owls living to 40 years of age. Mortality in the wild is often due to starvation. Natural enemies that prey on juveniles are Great Horned Owls, marten, and wolverines. Fatali4es caused by humans include shootings, road kills, and electrocutions. 

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