Great Gray Owl East of the Greater Toronto Area - Winter 2017

Great Gray Owl hunting late afternoon in a rough overgrown field.


Click Video for Great Gray in hunting pose - recommend full screen viewing

Aged as a first year bird (hatched 2016) by its pale tipped primaries and its pointed tail tips.


Photo shows pointed tail feathers where the mesoptile down once adhered and is now worn off, typical of first year Great Grays in winter. It also has overall uniform plumage with no molt contrast between old and new feathers. The primaries, secondaries and tail are the same first generation.


It hunted from perches. We saw it catch several voles.



Aging Great Gray Owls:


Adult Great Gray Owl - How to Age It:


Great Gray Owl Observations 2004-2005:


Age of 2017 Great Gray Owl Irruption

More than 50% of Great Gray Owl (GGOW) photos we've examined in winter 2017 show first year birds hatched in 2016. By contrast, more than 99% of GGOWs in the huge irruption of 2004-2005 were older than first year birds. Source Mark Peck and Glenn Murphy (2005) in the journal Ontario Birds 23(3): 122-137. Link to article: