The Great Grey Owl, also known as the Lapland Owl, or Phantom of the North, is a very beautiful bird to see. I was lucky enough to have one in my pasture and to photograph it on July 10, 2012.
The Great Grey Owl is one of the largest owls, with females being slightly larger than males. Their wingspan can reach 5 feet (1.5 meters). We had been on vacation (to Vancouver) and arrived home to find a huge owl sitting on a post in our back pasture. I grabbed the camera to take some photos. It flew a short distance before landing on another post, then flying to a tree. If I had a better camera (and was not so tired from the holiday) I am sure I could have taken many great pictures of this beautiful bird.
Owls cannot actually turn their head all the way around but they can turn it as much as 270 degrees and can then whip their head around so fast that the movement can hardly be detected by the human eye.
I live in central Alberta, near Pigeon Lake, and this particular Great Grey Owl was in my back pasture.
These owls eat mostly mice and voles, small rodents. They hunt mostly in the evenings. Where I live the sun does not set until after 10 pm in July so this owl was probably waiting until later for hunting. These photos were taken around 7 pm.
Great Grey Owls prefer to live in forested areas, and like to sit in dead trees. Sadly deforestation is threatening their survival. Not that long ago the land I have (only 10 acres) and the surrounding farmland, was all forest, but it had been cleared to make way for agriculture. Growing human populations mean more natural areas are being turned into farm land. My wife and I selected our property because it was not totally cleared and did have some trees remaining, and have since planted other trees too as we want to make the area more beautiful.
Above is not a great picture of the Great Grey Owl, but I still think it is an interesting photo.
It was a real treat to see, and photograph, this Great Grey Owl in my own backyard. Hopefully other people will try to preserve natural areas so we have birds like this to enjoy for years go come.
All owls photos are property of myself and not for use without my permission.
Would you like to write for sites like this, and get Paid, please join me on Triond by clicking here.