The last few days have been spent in Yosemite's high country, where the lush mountain meadows meet the edge of the thick coniferous forest. This habitat hosts one of California's most endangered birds - the great gray owl.
The great gray owls in Yosemite belong to a unique subspecies known as Strix nebulosa Yosemitensis. This owl lives in high elevation areas across the Sierra Nevada, where they hunt montane meadows for rodents. The population in California is estimated to be fewer than 200 pairs. Along with their low density, great gray owls have a naturally reclusive nature, making them incredibly hard birds to find.
I first learned about the Yosemite great gray owl when I started wildlife photography in 2016. Ever since I have made more than half a dozen trips to Yosemite in search of this species, without any luck. On this most recent trip, however, my luck finally turned for the better, as I got to spend two hours with this owl as it hunted in a meadow in the morning. Being in the presence of this species is truly magical, and I can't wait for my next encounter!
#greatgrayowl #ggo #owl #owlsofinstagram #yosemite #california