(Strix nebulosa) 

The Great Grey Owl is found across Canada, from the Pacific coast of  British Columbia to South Western Quebec, including southern Ontario.

Great Grey Owl on tree

As with other Owls and some birds of prey, the female is larger than the male, with the average length of an adult female being 24 to 33" for females and males measuring on average 26".

In terms of body length, the Great Grey is thought to possibly be the largest owl in the world, although the Eurasian Eagle-Owl and the Blakiston's Fish Owl are believed to be heavier.

On average, the wingspan of a female is 4' 8" and a male's wingspan often measures an inch or two less.

As other owls do, the Great Grey Owl's deep call is a "Whooo, Whooo" usually when they are interacting with their young as at other times they are silent.

Great Grey Owl on tree stump daylight

They lay their eggs and breed in coniferous forests and these birds are found in Ontario year-round, although they may move farther south during the winter months, to places where prey is more abundant, such as southern Ontario, New York state and the New England states.

Rather than building a nest, as most other birds do, these Owls tend to use the nests previously built by other raptors or cavities in large trees.

In Oregon, USA, these owls have been using, successfully, platforms erected by owl-loving citizens, for the purpose of nesting individuals who might otherwise not find a suitable place to lay their eggs.

The female normally lays four eggs and incubates them for four weeks, and the young owlets are fed by the father who hunts for small prey, but the mother stays on guard over the chicks.

By the end of the summer as winter begins, the young Owls are on their own and hunting for themselves.

Their prey is typically small mammals, such as mice, voles and squirrels.

Great grey owl with eyes closed daylight close up

The harvesting of forests is a factor in the success or failure of the Great Grey Owl as this reduces their habitat and their supply of food, and they may disappear from areas where forests have been clear cut.

Other dangers also put these owls at risk, such as rodent poisons, being hit by vehicles, and increasingly, West Nile Virus also affects Great Greys.

Although they have few predators, bears have been observed killing young owls, as well as Great Horned Owls, but neither of these is a threat to adults.

Great Grey Owl Info ...

The Great Grey Owl - All About Birds

Have you sighted a Great Grey Owl? If you have, let us know!

Do you have a report or pictures of a Great Grey Owl in Ontario? We would love to see them!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Great Grey Owl in Kingsville, Ontario 
In the past few weeks there have been reports of a Great Grey Owl sighted in Kingsville , Ontario, and even CBC TV has sent their crew to see it! …

Click here to write your own.

Recent Articles

  1. Snowy Owl seen in Woolwich township

    Jan 18, 20 09:23 PM

    One of our readers sent us this report ... I live in Woolwich Township. I'm an amateur photographer and after 3 years of trying to find an owl in the wild to photograph I came across this beauty! He s…

    Read More

  2. What are these birds?

    Jan 03, 20 05:00 AM

    I am trying to find out the name of the birds that flock together on the side of the road in the winter time. Lots of people call them snow birds but I do not think that is what they are. Ontario wild birds in Canada

    Read More

  3. Ontario Wild Birds

    Jan 02, 20 06:00 AM

    Birdwatching has been a long-time hobby of mine, and this area of Ontario is rich with bird life - from the fleeting glimpses of Hummingbirds in the Summer, to the arrival of the graceful Tundra Swans…

    Read More