Short-Eared Owls stand between 13.5 and 17 inches tall with a wingspan of 33.5-40.5 inches, and they weigh between just under a half pound to just over a full pound.1 They are daytime hunters and fly low over their hunting grounds, flapping their wings in a similar way to moths.1&2
These owls can be found on almost every continent, except Australia and Antarctica.3 They prefer open areas with an abundance of prey, like prairies, marshes, and tundra. They can also be found on islands like Hawaii.2
They build their nests on the ground. It’s built by the female owl, where she digs out a depression and lines it with grass and feathers.2&3 In that nest, she’ll lay between 5 and 6 eggs.3
Worldwide, Short-Eared Owl populations are stable.2 However, that’s not the case in specific states within the US. They aren’t endangered on the federal level, but their numbers have been affected in smaller areas.4 They are considered endangered in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, threatened in Connecticut, and “of special concern” in New York and Maryland.5 The biggest threat to them is habitat loss due to development and agriculture.4
Now that you've learned about short-eared owls, do you remember what you learned about long-eared owls? Check how much you remember with our blog post on long-eared owls here.