GREAT GRAY OWL
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
One of the world's largest owls, this Great Gray peers with intense yellow eyes through the dark forest. Its name, "nebulosa" means misty or foggy. The Great Gray Owl hunts mainly during early morning and late afternoon, especially during winter, but will also hunt during other daylight hours and at night. They are often seen perched on poles or fence posts along roads. When hunting, a Great Gray Owl will use a perch to "sit and wait" or it may hunt through the forest, flying low above the ground. When ground is covered with snow, a Great Gray Owl can hunt by hearing alone and often plunges into the snow to capture small rodents moving even 12" below.
Although a very large Owl, small rodents, like voles & pocket gophers, are favored. Other mammals taken include rats, mice, shrews, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, moles, and weasels.
In North America, the Great Gray ranges from Alaska through the Northern Rocky Mountains in a variety of forested habitats. Its soft, slow, low-pitched hoots often enliven the night forest.