Kringle is a male Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) who was
brought to us from Pierce, Idaho on November 29, 2004. He suffered injuries
to his left radius and ulna after either being hit by a car or getting
caught up in barbed wire. His injuries are such that he is unable to fully
extend his wing and he cannot fly.
Great Grey Owls are the tallest North American owls standing 24 to 33 inches
high and having a wingspan of 54 to 60 inches. Although, they are large
birds, Great Horned Owls and Snowy Owls are heavier by weight. Their
feathering is ash-grey and they have seemingly small yellow eyes and a
yellow beak. They can be easily recognized by their large facial disks which
are patterned with grey concentric rings. They also have white markings on
either side of a black strip near the bottom edge of their facial disk which
is often referred to as a “white moustache and black bowtie”. These owls
inhabit tundra areas and dense coniferous forests as far north as Alaska,
south to the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, and throughout Canada.
Great Grey Owls have excellent hearing and can accurately locate and
catch their prey even if the rodent they want is under 18 inches of snow.
They prefer to hunt mice, voles and other small rodents, although they will
occasionally take birds or other small prey.
Great Grey Owls generally breed in the late winter and use the abandoned
nest of hawks and crows at the tops of broken trees in which to lay their
eggs. Two to five eggs can be laid in March to June depending on the
climate. These eggs are then incubated for about 29 days until the fluffy
grey owlets hatch. Both parents take part in raising the young by bringing
food to the nest and feeding the owlets. Owlets remain in the nest for three
to four weeks until they start to feather out.