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Short-Eared OwlThe Short Eared Owl

Short-Eared Owls are unusual owls in their preference for open country, notably moorland, heathland, marshes and sand dunes. However; the population is extremely mobile and this - combined with its migratory habits - makes any estimation of their numbers very difficult, so much so the Winter Atlas of 1986 put the midwinter population anywhere between 5,000 and 50,000 individuals!

Despite being a specialist feeder on small mammals (especially voles), the Short-Eared Owl is very adaptable and wil feed on a wide variety of other species during temporary slumps in the vole population. Its normal hunting method consists of quatering the ground at a height of less than 3 metres, alternating between flapping its wings and gliding. and occasionally hovering whilst searching for its prey.

Short-Eared Owls have a maximum wingspan of 1 metre, but weigh less than half a kilo. The very small ear tuffs from which they get their name have nothing to do with hearing but are used to communicate mood with woild-be aggressors.