All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Bird of the Month Short-eared Owl

The next couple of months Bird of the Month will be dedicated to Owls. This months Bird of the Month I have selected the Short-eared Owl. My first sighting of Short-eared Owls was on a foggy New Years day in 2001. I was at Farmington Bay with my son Spencer and we were looking for Eagles, we count 9 Short-eared Owls that morning. It is especially memorable because I got 2 new life birds that morning and Spencer ID'd both of them. The other life bird was the Northern Shrike, I could not have been more proud.

This was one of my lost pictures salvaged from a slideshow.
Several Years ago I had a problem with one of my computers, we saved all my bird photos on a back up disk, when the problem was fixed and we loaded the pictures back on to my computer, for some reason all of my Owl and and Egret/Heron photos were gone. I was sick about it then remembered that I had made a video slide show of many the Egret and Heron pictures as well as Owl pictures. I was able to salvage the best ones that I had placed on the slide shows but unfortunately the quality of the pictures are not as good being copies of copies.

Short-eared owls hunt mostly at night but they are diurnal so it is not uncommon to see them hunting early in the day and also just before dark.

Short-eared Owls are named for the small tufts of feathers on the top of their head, these tufts are usually not visible.
This bird is displaying its ear tufts that give it, its name 
Short-eared owls hunt mostly for meadow voles and mice, but will also take small birds.
Short-eared Owls are the most common Owls at Farmington Bay. It is perfect habitat for them for hunting and also because they nest on the ground their is plenty of cover for them to nest in
The Birds of Prey at Farmington Bay love to pose for Photos on the No Hunting Sign, the Owls are no exception
Like most birds of Prey Owls eat their prey whole. They are not able to digest the hair, bones and feathers so after digestion they cough up a pellet of the undigestible material. Locating these pellets is a good way to locate where owls roost.
I found this Owl Pellet on the deck at the Nature Center. I frequently find Pellets there. Notice the skull fur and bones of the Vole that was this Owls dinner.

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