Short Eared Owls
Below is a piece written by a member of the Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group about Short Eared Owls. To see what the Gamekeepers in the Yorkshire Dales are doing in their daily lives please follow the group at: http://Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group
The short-eared owl, or ‘Shortie’, is an unusual owl because it prefers to be out and about in the daytime as in the picture above.
This year we have noticed a significant increase in the volume of Short-eared owl’s across our managed moorlands, especially at the top end of the Yorkshire Dales.
Breeding success is highly dependent on good populations of prey. Voles have done well this year and so therefore so have the Owls 😊
Most easily spotted in winter, when resident birds are joined by migrants, the short-eared owl is mottled yellowy-brown above, paler underneath with long, paddle-shaped wings and has dark circles around its yellow eyes. Short ‘ear tufts’ provide its common name. The similar long-eared owl is darker with orange-red eyes and long ear tufts and is usually found near woodland.
Initial impressions can be of a sandy-coloured Buzzard but the blunt head is immediately obvious.
They nest on the ground in scraped-out hollows lined with grass and downy feathers. Even in good years, owls are unlikely to have more than one brood, but clutch sizes may be larger. As ground nesters, the young leave the nest quite early.
Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern.