Short-eared Owl

Asio flammeus

Status

Special Concern

Description

This owl has a large rounded head with yellow eyes set in distinctive black eye sockets. The facial disk is fringed with white. Its very small ear tufts are rarely visible. In flight this owl often appears to be neckless. Its size ranges from 34 to 42 cm in length and weighs between 350 to 411 g. It has a mottled brown back and creamy-colored front with vertical brown streaks.

Habitat

Short-eared Owls prefer open habitats with low vegetation including grasslands, old pastures, and occasionally agricultural fields. A large factor in influencing its habitat choice is food abundance.

Threats

Intensive development destroys suitable habitat
Intensive livestock grazing
Farm activity such as mowing and haying can destroy nests and eggs
Collisions with vehicles, barbed wire fences and electricity lines
Decrease in available prey due to poisoning and trapping
Predation from feral cats and dogs

You Can Help!

Do not disturb or develop known nesting sites
Watch for them along the roadside
Avoid intensive cattle grazing in areas of known nesting sites
Time mowing to prevent destruction of active nests
Keep pets indoors

Resources

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