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. It has a mottled brown back and creamy-colored front with vertical brown streaks.
Short-eared Owls prefer open grassy habitats with low vegetation like grasslands, prairie, old pastures, and occasionally agricultural fields. A large factor in influencing its habitat choice is food abundance.
Nests are built on the ground in a cup of grass.
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!
Conserve and protect wildlife habitat
Do not disturb or develop known nesting sites
Avoid intensive cattle grazing in areas of known nesting sites
Time mowing to prevent destruction of active nests
Keep pets indoors