In Hannu's Footsteps - The Hannu Hautala Nature Photography Centre
In Hannu's Foot steps - The Hannu Hautala Nature Photography Centre

March 2013, February 2008

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Predator on the Move

The Great Grey Owl is a bird of the northern taiga region. It lives in the forest of Siberia, near the Arctic Circle. A fellow creature of a slightly different colour lives in the forest of Canada.

The species is specialized in preying on small mice and moles for nutrition. As the second largest bird after the Eagle Owl, it is specialized only in these very small animals. With the help of its excellent hearing, it can find them even under up to 50 cm thick layer of snow. If mice and moles are scarce, they often starve to death. They do not know how to hunt anything else. The only known bird in the area was spotted after new year, after one month of dwelling here. It was reduced into a small ball of feathers.

This year the great grey owls nest in central and southern Finland, where the mole population is still very large, unless there is a collapse in the population.

This picture dates back a few years, when there were several great grey owls in Kuusamo. Then the mole population collapsed, and the owls took off to Siberia, where there still were plenty of these small hairy animals.

Technique: Canon EOS V, 4/600 mm, tripod, Fuji Provia 400

Kuusamo, February 2007