- 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.
Updated: Jan 8, 2014