Short-Eared Owl

When we think of owls, we think of them as nocturnal, coming out at night. The Short-Eared Owl, however, also flies during the day ("diurnal") and is the most diurnal of all the owls. They are mostly seen in the late afternoon and at dawn. When it flies, the Short-Eared Owl flies like a moth or like a bat, flying low over grasslands or marshes, flying back and forth with slow, irregular wingbeats.

Short-Eared Owls are medium-sized owls with small ear tufts that look like two short ears sticking out of its head. The Long-Eared Owl has ear tufts almost three times as long. The Short-Eared Owl usually lets these ear tufts lie flat on its head, giving it the appearance of being bald. When it is surprised or scared or on the defensive, the ear tufts stand straight up.

The Short-Eared Owl has large eyes, a big head, a short neck and wide wings. Feathers are brown and the upper breast is streaked. Females of the species are slightly bigger than the males. The yellow orange eyes are emphasized by black circles around each eye and its white face.

This Owl hunts frequently throughout the day, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. It flies between one to ten feet above the ground, will hover above its prey for a few seconds before pouncing on its meal. The Short-Eared Owl uses its excellent hearing to locate prey. It feeds on small rodents, insects, and small birds.

Despite the fact that the Short-Eared Owl is present in most continents, its rate of decline has alarmed researchers. These birds have decreased in numbers from 3.5% to as much as 11.5% each year. This is a main reason why the Short-Eared Owl had been listed as VULNERABLE worldwide, but is a STATE-ENDANGERED SPECIES in the northeastern United States. Some reasons for the fast decline in numbers include:
1. Loss of habitat - The large, open and undisturbed areas where the Short-Eared Owls breed are being replaced by homes and buildings.

2. Pesticides - The presence of pesticides in the Short-Eared Owl's prey may cause harm to the bird.
Short-Eared Owl Fast Facts
Scientific Name: Asio Flammeus
Type: Bird
Diet: Carnivore
Height: 13 to 17 inches
Weight: 7.27 to 16.77 ounces
Range: Most continents
Diet: Small rodents, insects, and small birds


To make Rock Owl Paperweights, click on the image or here.

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:25 PM

    My earth science class is attempting to raise awareness about the short-eared owl's status as an endangered animal and possibly will be 'adopting' one to help protect it. We are in the state of Michigan where it has been officially named an endangered animal. Thanks so much for helping to get the word out about this beautiful owl and how we can preserve their habitats!

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  2. Anonymous8:57 PM

    I am searching this for a project and it's been a big help. Thanks a lot!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Anonymous2:16 AM

    This was a lot of help! Thanks!

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  5. Anonymous4:07 AM

    This helped me a lot since I am participating in Species on the Edge!

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