• Great gray owl

    Common NameGreat gray owl
    Scientific NameStrix nebulosa
    Type of ReportRare Species
    Date of Observation02/27/2018
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed1
    Reporting Observer's NameIan Clark
    Mailing AddressPO Box 51
    West Newbury, VT 05085
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed03/02/2018
    Latitude of Observation44°06'42.5"N
    Longitude of Observation72°05'50.7"W
    Place NamePerrini Road
    Vermont eBird Checklist URLebird.org
    Time of Day04:05 PM
    Length of Time Observed20 minutes
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)125
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)75
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions

    Clear afternoon

    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera with Canon 400mm F2.8 and Canon 1.4 extender

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    I'm an intermediate level birder; have observed only one wild great gray before (Newport, NH in early 2017, made several visits).

    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    Evergreen forest. Chickadees, nuthatches and crows noticed in area while watching owl

    Behaviors Observed

    Bird was perched on an evergreen branch, roughly 6 feet above ground. Bird spent roughly 20 minutes casually looking around. Two photographers were standing in the open on a dirt driveway, the bird must have been aware of us but gave no indication that it noticed us. A driver with a pickup drove up and chatted with us, the bird seemed to ignore this too. The bird took flight, flying low and landing in relatively new growth (4-8' tall) evergreens. We suspected it was hunting, but lost sight of it in the trees.

    Description of Vocalizations

    Did not hear any

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    A friend called and told me he had found the bird. It took me roughly 25 minutes to get to the bird. My friend reports the bird remained on the same perch from the time spotted until it flew and we lost it. When I arrived, I set up my camera on a tripod on the driveway next to my friend. The bird did not respond to us as far as I could tell. The bird was looking around, we interpreted the behavior as looking for prey. While we were watching, a neighbor drove up in his pickup and stopped to ask what we were photographing. He stayed and chatted a few minutes, without noticeable reaction from the owl. While we were chatting, the bird took off and flew low over small evergreens before banking and apparently landing. We were unable to see the bird through the trees and were unable to relocate it that evening.

    I made two trips back to the area on the two following days without relocating the bird. I may have heard it call on the second trip, but have low confidence on my ID skills by ear.

    Relative Size & Shape

    Large bird, estimate 25-30" tall, distinctive owl shape


    Large round head, brown with silver or white streaking on back. Face was silver with circles of brown streaks circling large yellow eyes. Underside of 'chin' had a white stripe with back "bow-tie"

    Feet & Bill

    Unable to feet. Bill is curved and yellow, partially obscured by feathers.

    Upper Back

    Pattern of silver (white?) and brown bars

    Lower Back & Rump

    Pattern of silver (white?) and brown bars on back, we couldn't see his rump


    Large wings, brown with silver steaks on top, white with brown bars underneath

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts

    Mix of silver and brown stripes


    Long tail, rounded at end, brown and white bars

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    I don't know enough about owls to know of a similar species

    This report was written from notes taken:Written from Memory

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