About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What is the largest owl in Michigan?

The largest owl in North America is the Great Gray Owl Strix nebuloa which can measure in length from 24-33 inches. It has a very fluffy dark gray body interspersed with bars and flecks of brown, pale gray, and white. Its face is shaped like a satellite dish to detect and capture the quietest rodent scurrying on the forest floor.

They are known for having some of the greatest vertical asymmetry in ear location among owls, and the right ear is higher than the left. It lacks the ear tufts of the Great Horned owl but its facial discs funnel sound through triangulation, to pinpoint the precise location of its prey.

The Great Gray Owl was first described by Johann Reinhold Forster in 1772. It’s hard to spot and has also been called the Phantom of the north and Spectral Owl. Great Grays occasionally appear in northern Michigan, usually when small mammal populations in Canada have crashed.

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