Short-eared Owl

short-eared owl, credit: Terry Alexander/Shutterstock

Special Concern Provincially and Nationally

Description

• Medium-sized owl with large round head; small tufts of feathers that look like ears; fairly long wings; short tail
• Well camouflaged: brown back and creamy-buff chest with brown streaks
• Mostly seen in flight during dawn and dusk
• Lives in open areas such as grasslands, marshes and tundra where it hunts for small mammals

Range

• Breeds in all Canadian provinces and territories
• In northern Ontario, scattered distributions along the James Bay and Hudson Bay coastlines and Rainy River District
• Most northern populations are migratory, moving southward in winter

Threats

• Habitat loss and alteration (wetlands and grasslands)
• Decrease in prey abundance
• Collisions with vehicles, utility lines and fences

Protection

• Not protected under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 or under the Species at Risk Act, 2002

Fact

The short-eared owl population has declined by 23 percent in the last decade.

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