Date: 3/1/17 7:23 pm
From: Robert O'Connell <flashart123...>
Subject: [Maine-birds] Great Gray Owl Thoughts
I have to admit, what love about these debates is it makes me want to
understand the birds more, so I dig. Like many of you, I am a birder, and
like some of you, it is not my life calling (oh but if I had it to live over
again.) My understanding comes from my limited experiences and grows as I am
fortunate enough to have more. My list of meaningful interactions with this
species consists of basically 45 minutes the other day. I am much more
experienced with empty fields than with this bird. So I will let wiser
people than me confirm any of this information, but in the limited research
I have done of this species, I have turned up a few papers that discuss
this topic that I thought I would share. By the way it is amazing what you
can find with Google Scholar <> and raging
insomnia. My soundtrack tonight just happens to be 2 Barred Owls conversing
which only adds to the fun.

In the paper
sgard> North American Owls: Biology and Natural History, the author

Great gray owls prefer to hunt in relatively open country where scattered
trees or forest margins provide for suitable vantage points for visual
searching. Winter (1987) found that about 90 percent of monitored birds'
time was spent within 124 meters of an open meadow. In the winter the birds
hunt primarily in early morning and again from late afternoon to dusk, with
little or no nocturnal activity,judging from Brenton and Pittaway's (1971)
observations. Oeming (1955) also reported that, prior to the nesting season,
most hunting is done in late afternoon, but while feeding young both daytime
and nocturnal hunting may be done. Similar observations during winter in
Finland suggest that the birds prefer to hunt at dusk, but modify their
crepuscular tendencies to include daytime during midwinter, when the day is
very short, and especially during dull, overcast days. On the other hand,
during the short nights of summer at high latitudes the birds concentrate
their foraging around midnight, although the great need for food during the
nestling period may force the male to be active throughout the daylight
hours (Mikkola, 1983)

Similar conclusion was reached in this article
e57a.pdf> Observations of the Great Gray Owl on Winter Range See page 320

Some more good info can be found here Review of Technical Knowledge: Great
Gray Owls <>
In here they reference a few studies that have shown the owls may prefer
actually hunting in the "open forests".

There are factors in these studies that refer to the height and distance
from targets as well as so much more. It is worth a look if you are
interested in rounding out your visit to this marvelous bird with some good
reading material.

I welcome any thoughts or comments.


Rob O'Connell

490 Greely Road Extension

Cumberland, ME 04021



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