Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-13b

Common name:

Great Gray Owl

Scientific name: [Strix nebulosa]
Date: 02/02/2017
Time: 11:15am
Length of time observed: four and half hours
Number: 1
Age: looks to be a first year bird
Sex: ?
Location: Mountain Green, Utah
County: Morgan
Elevation:  5000
Distance to bird: 15 feet to 50 yards
Optical equipment: binoculars, camera
Weather: snow/rain cloudy
Light Conditions:  a bit dim
Description:        Size of bird: two feet
(Description:)       Basic Shape: owl
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: gray
(Description:)            Bill Type: hooked but covered mostly by feathers
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
For this please view photos that Aaron sent as well as a few more I am sending.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery:  none heard
Behavior:  sitting in an upright position as most raptors/owls do, preening, looking around turning head nearly 360 degrees, several hunting dives feet first under pines out of sight to seeing if bird caught then ate anything.
Habitat: Cottonwoods small pines in a populated neighborhood with an open area near road about size of a football field as well as a small hill with sage brush though most everything covered in about a foot of snow.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Great Horned Owl but this bird had no horns nor colors other than those in the gray color scale.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
None just pictures from some my family has photographed in other states where they are common.
References consulted: Photographs, Sibley app on phone, and just a well known species to identify.
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Weston Smith
Observer's address: 1375N 6800E; Croydon, Utah 84018
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Garry Mowery, Aaron Smith, Arnold Smith, Kris Purdy, Billy Fenimore, several people from Utah County Birders, and many many others I wish I knew their names.
Date prepared: 2/3/2017
Additional material: Photos  [Video]
Additional comments:  I was contacted by Garry Mowery a good birding friend in Morgan that he had been shown an owl in the Mountain Green area that looked like a Great Gray Owl but was questioning it due to this way out of their known area. I quickly met him at about 11am in the area and sure enough there was the bird big as life in a cottonwood tree in a residents backyard. Talking to Garry as well as some local residents this bird has been in the neighborhood for at least one week possibly two or more.