Short-eared Owls

Short-eared owl with prey

Short-eared Owls are easier to find this time of year. They are unusual for owls as they can be active while it is light enough to photograph them. I find plenty of sleepy Great Horned owls early in the morning getting their naps on and while I am grateful for the opportunity to take their picture its exciting to see owls going about their owl business hunting and eating.

Short-eared Owl in afternoon light

In the flat fields of the Sierra Valley, I’ve been lucky enough to find quite a few Short-eared owls congregating in the late afternoons. They have been pretty cooperative posers, not too flighty or scared as I shoot them from my truck.

Short-eared Owl in profile

These owls love open fields and grasslands as they hunt small mammals like mice and voles.

Short-eared Owl in it’s habitat

Short-eared owls are widely distributed occurring on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. They are not threatened and seem to be doing well as a species.

Short-eared Owl

Thanks for looking! 🙂

9 thoughts on “Short-eared Owls

  1. Wonderful pictures again! I was just out last night doing a volunteer survey of Short-eared owls, Western Asio Flammeus Landscape Study (WAfLS). Only saw one probable, it was too far out for a positive ID, but its size and flight pattern looked right. It’s a neat program, very large scale and long running, trying to get better data on long-term trends in their population. Since they nest on the ground and will change locations every year, it hard to keep good track of them. There is some concern that their nesting habitat may be shrinking and moving northward over the long-term, so these surveys are an attempt to gather reliable data.

    1. Thanks! That’s awesome being able to partake in a survey like that. This time of year the owls flock up for courtship activity so it’s a great opportunity to count and observe them.

      1. Yeah, they require you to do it in a pretty specific timing window, both seasonally and time-of-day, to maximize chances of catching that courtship behavior and thereby seeing an owl.

    1. Thanks so much for the warm welcome back! 🙂 I remember your trip to the Sheldon. I hope you get back to Nevada. I finally visited the Ruby Marshes this last fall. I enjoyed looking at your photos from your trip there.

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