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Great gray owl
Date Issued: 1978-08-26
Postage Value: 15 cents

Commemorative issue
American Owls
Great gray owl

The great gray owl is one of four owls native to the United States depicted on the set of four stamps printed together on the same pane.

Great gray owls prefer dense forests interspersed with open meadows, clearings, or bogs. This owl lives in taiga, boreal, and mountainous forests of North America and Eurasia.

The main food of this owl is small mammals, like voles, but it will also eat birds, amphibians, and insects. They hunt mainly during dusk and dawn (crepuscular) from a perch at the forest edge or in a clearing, but will also hunt at night (nocturnal) and occasionally during the daytime (diurnal).

Great gray owls will usually use another bird’s abandoned nest, but will also nest in broken tree stumps, man-made platforms, and sometimes on the ground. The female lays 2 - 6 eggs, which are incubated for 28 - 30 days. The young birds leave the nest at 20 - 30 days and fledge 1 - 2 weeks later. Most Great Gray Owls become sexually mature at 3 years.

The scientific name comes from the Greek word strizo, meaning to screech, and the Latin word nebulosa, meaning dark or clouded, and refers to the plumage color. The common name describes this owl's size and color. The Great Gray Owl has also been called Gray Owl, Spectral Owl, Sooty Owl, and Spruce Owl.

Topics: Animal (526)  Bird (278)  

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