This is Shaggy, our Great Gray Owl, he is one of the stars on our flying display.
Turbary Woods
Great Grey Owl

Great Grey OwlGreat Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa)

Also known as Lapland Owl, Lapp Owl

This is Shaggy, our Great Gray Owl, he is one of the stars on our flying display.

Great Grey Owl

Range

Great Grey Owl in North America from Lake Superior to the Pacific coast and Alaska, and from Scandinavia across northern Asia. Their breeding habitat is the dense coniferous forests of the taiga, near open areas, such as meadows or bogs.

Description

Adults have a big, rounded head with a grey face and yellow eyes with darker circles around them. The underparts are light with dark streaks; the upper parts are grey with pale bars. This owl does not have ear tufts and has the largest "facial disc" of any raptor.

The length may range from 61 to 84 cm with a wingspan that can exceed 152 cm, but averages 142 cm for females and 140 cm for males.

Voice

The Great Gray Owl has a distinctive primary call which is a very soft, low-pitched hoot "whooo-ooo-ooo-ooo" with the notes emitted slowly over a 6 to 8 second period. Calls are repeated every 15 to 30 seconds.

Diet

These birds wait, listen and watch for prey, then swoop down; they also may fly low through open areas in search of prey. Their large facial disks focus sound and can hear their prey moving underground in 60cm of snow.

Although a very large Owl, their primary prey consists mostly of small rodents, with voles being the most important. Other alternative prey animals (usually comprising less than 20% of prey intake) include hares, moles, shrews, weasels, thrushes, grouse, Gray Jays, small hawks and ducks.