Short Eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
The short-eared owl is about 36 centimetres (14 inches) long.
This is a light coloured owl with small ear tufts that are seldom visible.
In flight, the large, round, seemingly neckless head and dark patches on the underside of the wings are easily seen.
The upper parts of the body are a yellowish to buff color with brown streaking on the crown, neck and back, and barring
on the wings.
The pale under-parts are heavily streaked with brown on the breast.
It is found throughout the province, except in the Rocky Mountains.
The breeding season is spent from the subarctic to the northern states.
Winter months are spent south of the summer range as far away as South America.
The short-eared owl is a bird of the open grassland, marshes and farmland.
Predominantly a day hunter, the short-eared owl flies slowly over the ground in search of mice and voles.
During years when rodent populations are high, these owls tend to congregate in a greater abundance than any other bird
Nests are usually a lined depression on the ground.
Five to seven eggs are laid.
The short-eared owl is classified as May Be At Risk in the General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:
Also see the Status of the Short-eared Owl in Alberta report at:
Population size for this species is unknown and irruptive fluctuations in numbers make assessments difficult.
Like all birds of prey in Alberta, the short-eared owl is protected by the provincial Wildlife Act.
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Posted: March 17, 2009 / Updated: April 29, 2010