A new study suggests the owls flying in Yosemite are actually a sub-species of the great grays with key genetic differences.
UC Davis researcher Joshua Hull says the Yosemite owl likely became separated from other grays during the Ice Age.
"There were a lot of different things happening where big glaciers came through and changed the landscape and somehow there was a break in the habitat somewhere near the Klamath Basin possibly where we see a place where we don't have the owls interacting with each other anymore."
Hull says the Yosemite owl also nests slightly differently from other great gray owls.
Rangers say there only are about 150 great grays living in the park's lush forests and surrounding private lands. But overall, more than half of California's great gray owls are found in the Yosemite region.