Great Grey Owl
This is a journal of sorts - allowing you to watch baby "Hoot" grow up here, at Hawkeye. Enjoy!
Well, folks... the verdict is in! Our little Hoot is a boy, after all!
Hoot, our Great Grey owlet, is now almost four months old and his weight remains at 1.02 kg (which indicates that it's a male). Almost all of his baby down has been covered by juvenile feathers, which should be fully grown in just a few weeks. Hoot will remain here, at Hawkeye and is destined to be one of the Ambassadors of our Summer Falconry Experience. Did you know that we offer Owl Experiences during the winter months?
Here are a few more pictures from August:
Hoot is standing very steady now and jumping 2-3 ft up onto boxes. She consumes about 3-4 rats or about 1 full quail per day and weighs 820 grams now and her beak is getting stronger every day. Her feathers continue to come in nicely and, according to Dan Frankian, the down on top of her head is the softest he has ever felt.
She LOVES water and has now taken her first bath. Her curiosity and sense of adventure is growing and she is now exploring trees. She is quite comfortable with Hawkeye's dogs - she truly is a magnificent and gentle creature. Swallows do NOT like her, though... they swoop at her.
Hoot is comfortable in the car - she is under 24 hour care and goes wherever her caretakers go.
Check her out on our YouTube channel - we are adding new videos all the time. And, just for good measure... here are a couple of new still shots:
June 24th, Hoot weighed in at 760 grams. She will be going through a tremendous growth spurt in the coming weeks.
She has been busy flapping her wings and jumping up about 3 feet into the air now. She can sit on a glove as she spends time with Master Falconer Dan Frankian.
See this week's new photos at https://www.hawkeye.ca/hoot-the-great-grey-owl - and also check her out on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLY0CR9xclcicN-HruoMf4kHewm_rrid-5
Our little owl has about doubled in size since she arrived just over a month ago! She is doing awesome and discovering what all her various body parts are for. Enjoy!
She is now hopping 3-4 ft, and can jump 2 ft in height. Her feathers are coming in on her wings, and her wingspan is already around 3 ft. Hoot has started to get larger sources of food and is now using her feet to hold the pieces down while tearing them apart with her beak.
She has been casting pellets that contain the bones and feathers from her food. She also ate her first wean rat, which she enjoyed completely whole instead of in tidbits as she was previously eating.
Hoot is now in the 2nd stage of her feeding routine. We started out with only flesh (no bones), ground up, and are now at whole body animals (also ground up). Prep time is about 1 hour, and she eats 3 times a day. Eventually, we will move to feed small strips and finally graduate to whole animal feeding.
We are so happy about Hoot's improvements and we cannot wait for you to meet her! Don't forget our falconry experience opens up again on the weekend of June 20th and we would love for you to come visit all our miraculous birds of prey! Call 416 429 5393 today to reserve your spot!
Hoot, Hawkeye's Great Grey Owl, is just over a month old now. We are still unsure of its gender, but will be able to determine this in the months to come. For now we will refer to Hoot as a female.
She is eating quail 4-5 times a day in small amounts, immediately followed by a nap. She is more and more active each day, becoming more adventurous and hopping out of the nesting box to explore her surroundings. Her juvenile feathers on her wings are coming in and she is starting to exercise those wings by flapping and then hopping each time. Hoot is also starting to use her talons by jumping and grabbing the newspaper in her nesting box and then ripping it up with her beak.
Cool Grey Owl Facts
- Although the Great Grey Owl is one of the tallest owls in North America, it’s just a ball of feathers. Both the Great Horned Owl and Snowy Owl weigh more and have larger feet and talons.
- Great Grey Owls aren’t just North American owls. They also live in Scandinavia, Russia, Siberia, and Mongolia.
- Great Grey Owls are powerful birds. Despite weighing only 2.5 pounds, they can break through hard packed snow to grab small mammals. One bird reportedly broke through snow that was hard enough to support a 176-pound human.
- Great Grey Owls are big owls, which means that they need to eat regularly. In the winter, they eat up to 7 vole-sized small mammals every day.
- Both the common and scientific names are apt for this large gray owl. The Latin name for Great Grey Owl is Strix nebulosa. Strix means to utter shrill sounds and nebulosa means misty or cloudy, referring to its gray color.
- Imagine what it would be like if you could hear even the slightest noise and knew exactly where the noise was coming from. Well, that is exactly what Great Grey Owls can do. Like the Barn Owl and Long-eared Owl they have asymmetrical ear openings that help them find prey by sound alone. The left ear opening is higher on the head than the right ear opening which enables precise directional hearing and lets them nab invisible prey.
- The oldest recorded Great Grey Owl was at least 18 years, 9 months old and lived in Alberta, where it was banded in 1996 and found in 2013, after being hit by a car.
We will continue to follow Hoot’s progress and keep you updated on all her new achievements. Keep in mind, our Falconry experience is starting up again on June 21st and we have lots of hawks, eagles, owls, and falcons for you to get up close and personal with. Book your Hawkeye falconry experience now by calling 416 429 5393.
Say Hello to "Hoot" - our wee little Great Grey Owl, born on May 2nd, 2020.
We think that Hoot may be a girl, but a bit more time is needed to be sure. But, we'll say 'her' for now :)
Hoot had a long journey from Quebec last week - Hawkeye's Dan Frankian went to pick her up - at the tender age of 3 weeks. A week in, she appears healthy and well adjusted.
We have big plans for Hoot: She will be the new star at our Falconry Experience. The Falconry Experience allows non falconers an opportunity to meet birds of prey up close and personal. It is as much a day of learning as it is about action. At the end of the day, participants will be able to fly a bird of prey (usually one of our Harris Hawks) to and from their arm. We hope that Hoot will grow up to love her role as ambassador for all owls.
We will also be posting video updates on Hawkeye's YouTube Channel - here's a sneak peek:
Our New Friend
Here at Hawkeye, we are thrilled to announce the arrival of our newest family member, Hoot. Hoot is a three week old Great Grey Owl who we can’t wait for you to meet! Hoot will be the newest star of our falconry experience, where we offer a unique opportunity for anyone ages five and up to get up close and personal with our birds of prey, and even fly a Harris Hawk directly to your hand. Our falconry experience will be reopening starting June 27th 2020 and we are so happy to be able to provide a safe and healthy experience following new customer safety protocols to the best of our abilities. To sign up for your exciting and educational falconry experience contact Hawkeye today at (416) HAWKEYE (416-429-5393).
Follow "Hoot" on our new blog! It's a HOOT :)
The Great Grey Owl is quite a majestic looking bird, with a very large flat facial disk face, a white bow between their eyes, a white moustache like feature, yellow beak, and beating yellow eyes that seem as if they are staring into your soul. Although many birds display sexual dimorphism, distinctive visual difference between males and females, the Great Grey Owl looks the same for both sexes, with a slight difference in size between the males and females; females being larger and males being smaller as with almost every species of bird. The feathers on a great grey are variegated grey, white, and brown throughout the entire body, but the feathers on their face, although the same colours at the rest of their body form a very distinctive circular pattern matching the shape of their face. Seeing a Great Grey Owl in the wild is very rare, as they are very elusive forest hunters, but if you are so lucky, they are a site to see.
The Great Grey Owl is not the largest Owl we have in North America if we are relying strictly on average weight, but the Great Grey Owl is in fact the largest species of owl on this continent if we are talking about height. If you were to line up all the owls in North America, you would think the Great Grey is the largest by weight as well, but really they are just a big fluffy ball of feathers. To get a better idea, let’s compare the Great Grey with the Great Horned Owl; which is the largest owl in Ontario by overall size. The Great Grey Owl weighs an average of 1.1 kg, where the Great Horned Owl weighs an average of 1.4 kg, so you can see that this is a pretty tight race for largest owl. When comparing the heights of these two owls, the Great Grey is an average of 27 inches tall with the Great Horned only being an average of 22 inches tall, again not too far off from each other. But when we compare the wing span of these two owls there seems to be quite a significant difference with the Great Grey at an average of 2 to 3 ft, and the Great Horned at an average of 3 to 5 ft. Hawkeye also has what is called a Sub-Arctic Great Horned Owl who you will get to meet during your falconry experience and learn more about as well.
Food and Hunting Style
Great Grey Owls are non-migratory birds that live and hunt through all weather conditions; although they may travel slightly south in search of food. They can even hear a small rodent from a kilometer away under up to two feet of snow; now that is excellent hearing. In fact, the large flat facial disk of the Great Grey Owl functions similar to that of a dish antenna, amplifying and detecting sounds and allowing the owl to pinpoint exactly where the sound is coming from; this is a common characteristic among all owls. The outer ring of the face is composed of stiff feathers, which help to channel the sound and direct it to the true ears of the owl, which are located on the sides of the owls head like our own. The Great Grey Owl has asymmetrical ear openings, which allow them to accurately detect the height and direction which the sound is coming from; their hearing is said to be over ten times better than our own. Like most owls, Great Grey owls are found hunting at dusk, but if having difficulty finding available food, you may catch them hunting during the day time as well. Their main diet consists of about 90% small mammals including voles, mice, squirrels, rabbits, and rats. But if these are not available, they may also take down ducks, grouse, and other small game birds.
Like most owls, Great Greys do not build their own nests. They use empty nests of other raptors or larger species of birds, letting others do the work for them; they often switch nesting locations year after year. Great Greys normally have a clutch size of four eggs, with an incubation period of an average of 30 days. In the bird world, incubation times usually reflect the size of the bird at hand, with small song birds hatching in less than 2 weeks, and larger birds taking up to 80 days.
Typically Great Greys are found in the Northern reaches of North America, as far north as Alaska and as far south as California, staying in places like Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Nevada all year long. Their range spans pretty much all the way across the provinces in Canada to Southern Quebec. During the winter they may travel slightly south of Ontario into Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York State. But as stated previously, since they are generally resident birds, they do not migrate, but will travel if there is a lack of food in a certain area.
To learn more about birds of prey and how you can get up close and personal with owls like Hoot, contact Hawkeye today, we will take you on a once in a lifetime falconry experience that will be remembered for years to come.