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Short-eared Owl

The Short-eared Owl lives in grasslands and open areas, like at Voice of America MetroPark where the photo below was taken. That coupled with the fact they hunt during daylight hours, especially in the evening, means that this owl is easier to spot than other owl species. 

Short Eared Owl VOA Photo Feb 04, 4 04 39 AM

[Photo Credit: Luke Chapman @lchapophoto]

Medium in size, these owls range from 13-17 inches in length and 7-17 oz in weight.  They have a big head with large, bright yellow eyes, each rimmed with a black circle, and a short, black, and hooked beak.  Their wingspan is broad, measuring from 33 to 44 inches. “Ear tufts”, which are not really ears by the way, are so short that they may not be noticeable unless the owl is either curious or defensive.  Like other owls, the Short-eared Owl’s ears are on the sides of their heads.

Short-eared Owls hunt for rodents, such as voles, mice rabbits, gophers, birds and more, by flying low over the ground.  Their acute hearing is the sense used most, but their eyesight helps them find their prey as well.  

These owls are described as moth or bat-like when in flight.  Look closely if you have the chance to see one.  Do you agree?