The Canadian Peregrine Foundation

Short-eared Owl
(Asio flammeus)

(click on any photos / drawings to enlarge)


(Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)

Size: 33-43 cm (similar to large pigeon or small Crow).   Description: Pale buff colour, with vertical dark streaks on breast. Pale, rounded facial disks with dark feathers around eyes.   Range: Breeds in every province and territory, but winters mostly in the United States, with a few remaining along the southern edges of Ontario, the prairies, and British Columbia.   Habitat: Any open areas, including fields, marshes, and tundra.   Nest: In depression on the ground lined with grasses and feathers from the female’s breast.   Voice: Loud, wheezy barking sound.   Diet: Voles, and occasionally small birds.   Behaviour: Most active at dawn and dusk. Searches for prey by flying low over open areas with buoyant flight.   Notes: Short ear tufts are rarely seen. May hunt in small groups, especially in winter. Sometimes migrates over open water.



Short-eared Owl profile - excerpt from Student's Guide to Canada's Wildlife at Risk

Link to Owls of New York State fact sheet


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