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GAP Analysis Predicted Distribution Map

Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa)

Species Code: STNE

This is an "at risk" species

Click to enlarge Range map

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat

Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)

Click to enlarge distribution map

Other maps & Information:
  • Breeding Bird Atlas
  • NatureMapping observations
    during breeding season
  • NatureMapping observations
    throughout the year

This species is a rare and local breeder in mid-seral to mature forests adjacent to meadows in eastern Okanogan and western Ferry Counties. There are very few breeding records for this bird. In fact, there are no records prior to 1991.

Good habitats in the core areas of use were conifer forests (except those explicitly labeled early-seral) in the Ponderosa Pine and Interior Douglas-fir zones, but restricted to eastern Okanogan and western Ferry Counties.

The subspecies breeding in Washington is the nominate North American subspecies S. n. nebulosa. The Great Gray Owl is known as a breeder in Washington only since 1991, when as many as four possible nesting areas were discovered. Several records show this species as a "possible rare resident" and they are also found rarely as a nonbreeder and winter resident elsewhere in Washington. Suitable nesting habitat generally consists of open, wet meadows adjacent to forests. In south-central Oregon, 61 of 63 known nests were in this type of habitat. It has been noted that Great Gray Owls are not highly territorial, sometimes nesting within 0.3 miles of other nests. Additionally, Great Gray Owls are known to utilize man-made nesting platforms, which is an interesting conservation option. Biologists with the Okanogan National Forest have erected some of these platforms, with nesting success at one site. Lodgepole Pine and Ponderosa Pine were dominant at 59 of 63 Oregon sites. Oregon's first nest was found in 1959. This species may also occur as a breeder in Washington in the Blue Mountains; a substantial population is known from OregonŐs Wallowa Mountains and in the southern Blue Mountains in Oregon. In particular, the poorly sampled Grouse Flats area in southwestern Asotin County, Washington, where Ponderosa Pine and Grand Fir forests are mixed with lush meadows, appears to be suitable Great Gray Owl habitat. A single bird noted in June 1996 in Pend Oreille County suggests possible breeding in that area as well.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester