“Follow the rabbit tracks. BAM! The tracks suddenly end where the wing prints of an owl start. This picture was taken by a friend of a friend who teaches in Bethel, Alaska. Photo by Susan Barstow.”
“Great Gray Owl?
From the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game:
The Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa) is one of the most reclusive owls in North America. Although widely distributed in Alaska, it is common only in certain localities. Couple this with its secretive habits and you have a bird rarely seen and little known to most Alaskans.
General description: The Great Gray Owl is the tallest owl in Alaska, but it is not the heaviest. The owl stands 19 inches (48.26 cm) high with a wing span of 4½ feet (1.37 m) and weighs from 2.3 to 3.5 pounds (1.0 to 1.6 kg).
Foods: The Great Gray Owl hunts by perching on a tree overlooking a meadow or open area. The owl’s keen hearing enables it to accurately determine the location of its prey, even under two feet of snow. Once the owl locates some food, it silently glides from its perch and plunges into the snow to grab the rodent with its talons. Fresh “plunge marks” will occasionally show an imprint of the owl’s outstretched wing feathers where the owl dropped into the snow. In many areas these marks are often the only indication that Great Gray Owls are in the area.
Looks like a 4 1/2 foot wingspan to me.
Any other theories?”