This autumn seems to have been a good year for short-eared owls that are coming over from mainland Europe. There have been good numbers on the east coast of England but a few have made it out west. Aust near Bristol is a regular wintering ground for these birds. They look quite odd perching on branches with the traffic crossing the Severn Bridge on the M4 whizzing by in the background.
Five Facts about Short-eared owls
- Short-eared owls are medium-sized birds of prey that are found throughout the world, including North America, Europe, Asia, and South America.
- They are named for their short, feathered ear tufts, which are actually just feathers that stick up from the top of their head and are not ears at all.
- Short-eared owls are primarily active during the day and at dawn and dusk, unlike most other owl species that are nocturnal.
- They are ground-nesting birds and often breed in open grasslands, marshes, and tundra habitats.
- Short-eared owls are known for their distinctive flight pattern, which includes a series of deep wing beats followed by a glide, and they are also known for their unique vocalisations, which include a variety of hoots, barks, and screeches. Unfortunately, their populations have declined in many areas due to habitat loss and degradation, and they are considered a species of conservation concern in many parts of their range.