This is the largest living species of owl found anywhere on Earth! It has a wingspan of up to 190 cm (6 ft 3 in), a total length of up to 72 cm (28 in) and weighing up to 4.6 kg (10.1 lb).

It is endangered due to human activities like the cutting down of old trees with holes to nest in, land development, and destruction of forested areas around rivers, power lines, traffic, and countless other destructive human ways.

It exists only in the easternmost parts of Russia, north-east China and Hokkaido of Japan. Opposed to Russia, and China, many in Japan revere this species, and have put in place strong protective measures, and have seen a slow and steady improvement of their numbers, in part as a result of setting up nesting boxes. Yet they are still threatened by human ways, and the need to educate the public that old and seemingly half-dead trees must not be cut down, as they are vital to this species, as well as other species that only nest in tree cavities. Furthermore they need healthy rivers with healthy populations of fish stock. If these very simple and basic requirements can be supported by us, then this magnificent species may have a chance of existing far into the future.

Being able to see this wild creature appear at night by a stream near the ocean was amazing. To see it catch trout even more amazing. To see two owls, simply gobsmacking!

Here it’s perched on a branch hanging over the stream where it would look for movements in the water below. Other times it would simply wade in the stream until it caught a fish.

It sounds like this:


  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: NIKON D5
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • ISO: 32000
  • Shutter speed: 1/40 s

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