Meet our Owl Ambassadors
At Grouse Mountain we appreciate and respect wild places and wildlife. Our Refuge includes some outstanding owl ambassadors who help bring presence and reverence their species.
Learn more about our resident owls this summer at our Owl Interpretive Sessions running everyday through September 13th at 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm and 5:00pm at the Owl Talk Pavilion (formerly the Lumberjack stage).
Cleo is a female Barn Owl (Tyto alba). She first came to Grouse Mountain in 2013 from Vancouver Island. where she was hatched in captivity in 2009. In the 2018 season Cleo did over 300 appearances to help educate our guests about Owls, their natural history and their conservation concerns.
Barn owls are found all over the world but in Canada they are only found in Southwestern BC and in Southern Ontario. They can often be found nesting or roosting in large wooden barns, riding arenas and old silos. Due to threats to their habitat in Canada (through urbanization of farm land) Barn Owls are now Endangered in Ontario and Threatened in British Columbia. Barn Owls are a species identified as priority for conservation and stewardship in Canada.
Blizzard - Snowy Owl
Blizzard is a male Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus). He first came to Grouse Mountain in 2014 from the Edmonton Valley Zoo. He was hatched in captivity July 4th, 2011.
Snowy Owls are native to the Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia and migrate from these Arctic regions to areas as far south as Vancouver and the Canada / USA border in the winter. They are a large owl with females weighing over 2 kilograms. While their populations are decreasing they are not yet a species of concern but are being studied as one of the species that could be affected by climate change. The Snowy Owl is the provincial bird of Quebec.
Odin - Barred Owl
New male Barred Owl (Strix varia). He came to Grouse Mountain on April 25th, 2019, from the Northern Spotted Owl Captive Breeding Program in Langley, BC. after being hatched on April 10th, 2019.
Barred Owls are a forest owl that can also nest in parks and urban areas. They are not typically shy around humans. Each year several Barred Owl chicks are raised at the Spotted Owl facility to help researches determine the best techniques for the rearing of the highly endangered Spotted Owls. Incubation times, hatching techniques, parenting methods are all important steps that the Barred Owls help us learn because of their close genetic relationship with the Spotted Owl. The Barred Owls as a species are very robust and have been expanding their range across North America in the last 100 years.
Athena - Great-Horned Owl
New female Great-horned Owl (Bubo virginianus). She came to Grouse Mountain from the Canadian Raptor Conservancy in Ontario after being hatched in March 2019.
Great-horned Owls are impressive sized owls who imprint well and make for great ambassadors. These owls are a native species that lives and breeds on top of Grouse Mountain. They can be found in forests and open farmland nesting in stick nests and open snags. You can listen for their low but resounding “hoo-h”HOO-hoo-hoo”.
The Northern Spotted Owl
The Northern Spotted Owl is critically endangered in British Columbia with fewer than 20 Spotted Owls reported in the wild in the Province. The Northern Spotted Owl is non-migratory bird that lives primarily in old-growth forests. Grouse Mountain’s Refuge for Endangered Wildlife has worked with the Spotted Owl Conservation and Breeding Centre and helps to build awareness through education programs. It is hoped that captive born owls can be released into protected areas so that natural populations can rebuild. If you would like to contribute to the program, please visit facebook.com/nsobreedingprogram
Living harmoniously with wildlife is possible. Understanding the implications of our human actions is a key step in ensuring that we maintain a diverse ecosystem. The natural world is a shared one – one that we hope includes Spotted Owls.