Truly, A Winter of Short-eared Owls

by Bryce W. Robinson


This winter I have seen more Short-eared Owls than ever before. To be quite honest, I had seen very few before this year. Now I have a feeling that the bird is quite common in my area. I cannot decide whether my exposure to this owl this year is due to my constant traveling, or due to a boom in this years population spurred by an abundance of prey. As for now, it remains a mystery, but is something to look into.

At the moment, the Short-eared Owl is a bird I regularly see. These regular sightings in no way diffuse or dampen the mysticism and allure that I feel when I come upon the creature. More often than not, I first glimpse the owl in the air. As is its habit, it hunts amongst short grass fields and sage landscapes, looking and listening for movement. When it discovers its prey, it makes masterful maneuvers to procure its meal. What a delight to behold this arial owl in the evening light.

The bird in the above photo is the first SEOW that I encountered this season. It sat on this post, in the evening light, in apparent meditation and comfort. At times it would awaken and seem quite nervous, only to slip back into a doze. I will forever remember this season with these birds. They are among my favorite of those that are feathered. I hope sharing my experiences creates the same feelings of awe and wonderment in others, spurring fascination and revere for this special and delicate evening dweller.