SHORT-EARED OWL

SHORT-EARED OWL(Asio flammeus)
DESCRIPTION: The Short-eared Owl is an average size owl, measuring around 40 cm (16 in.) in length. The plumage is brown mottled with light beige and orange. The under parts are light beige to orange and finely streaked with brown. The eyes are orange-yellow. The facial disk is beige with a brown edge on the outer side of the eyes, sometimes forming a whole ring around the eyes. The legs are covered with beige to orange feathers. As with other birds of prey, females are larger. Sexes are similar.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Asio-flammeus?pg=2
NAME:  As its English name implies, the short-eared owl has small tufts that are usually difficult to see, unless the bird is in defensive mode. The name ‘Owl’ is an onomatopoeia for the bird’s call and comes from Cockney. The genus Latin name ‘Asio’ means a short-eared owl, and the species name ‘flammeus’ means ‘flame’, in reference to the plumage color and pattern.
HABITAT:  The short-eared owl is a widespread species that inhabits open country such as the prairie, the tundra and the steppes, also wetlands such as marshes.
DIET: This owl species hunts for small rodents, its favorite prey. It hunts during the day, which makes it easier to observe than nocturnal species. When hunting it flies low, hovering above the ground. It will also prey on insects and small birds.
NESTING: The nest is a scrape on or near the ground near wet areas, and is lined with down. About 3-5 white eggs are laid. Females do all the nesting and brooding work, while males feed them and protect the nest.
DISTRIBUTION: The short-eared owl is found in most of the northern Hemisphere, Argentine and Chile, and Southeast Asia. It also nests on oceanic islands such as Hawaii, where it is called the Hawaiian Owl or Pueo. It is partially migratory.
ON PEI: Although the short-eared owl breeds on Prince Edward Island and is a year-round resident, it is rarely observed on the island, or in the Maritimes. This is because this region is situated at the southeast edge of its breeding range in Canada.
CONSERVATION: 
The short-eared owl is listed as a species of ‘special concern’ by COSEWIC, due to population declines. An important factor is loss of habitat, where agriculture expanded and pesticides are used. Habitat is also lost due to urban development and wetland drainage.
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short-eared_owl
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Short-eared_Owl/overview
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/short-eared-owl
https://www.nwtspeciesatrisk.ca/species/short-eared-owl
https://hawkwatch.org/learn/factsheets/item/820-short-eared-owl
http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/what-we-do/resource-centre/featured-species/birds/short-eared-owl.html
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/okanagan/esd/atlas/species/short_eared.html (Environment, British Columbia – Species at Risk)
https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/short-eared-owl (Missouri Department of Conservation)

Short-eared Owl female on a fence post - McIntosh County, ND - Apr. 6, 2014 - US FWS
Short-eared Owl female on a fence post – McIntosh County, ND – Apr. 6, 2014 – US FWS Mountain Prairie
Short-eared Owl in flight - Gen Devon, Breadalbane, Scotland - Mar. 28, 2009 - Steve Garvie
Short-eared Owl in flight – Gen Devon, Breadalbane, Scotland – Mar. 28, 2009 – Steve Garvie

BACK TO THE TOP