Yosemite is the last sanctuary of California’s great gray owl, among the rarest and most threatened bird species in California. Past research, funded in part by Yosemite Conservancy, has revealed just how fragile the Yosemite great gray owl population is.

In 2014, the Conservancy funded research to protect the park’s great gray owls, using a series of non-invasive techniques. With your support, scientists used passive recording devices  to  locate, protect and monitor owl nests, analyzed DNA from naturally molted feathers to track and catalog individual owls, and studied the owls’ habitats to gain a better understanding of where they can nest and thrive. Using such techniques, the scientists can track long-term population trends and develop science-based management plans.

By taking a proactive, noninvasive approach, Yosemite National Park is building a conservation program to protect the majestic great gray owl for future generations.

Partnering with Yosemite National Park; U.S. Fish and Wildlife; University of California, Davis; U.S. Forest Service; and U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center.

Sarah Stock

Wildlife Biologist

Project Notes

With fewer than 300 great gray owls in in the greater Yosemite area, the species is rare, mysterious and astonishing to behold. It is humbling to have the opportunity to protect this special bird in such an amazing place and gratifying to know we're giving our great grandchildren the best chance for experiencing the magic of Yosemite'€™s great gray owls in their beautiful meadow homes.