Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Long-eared Owls - Countdown - 21 Days to Go!

Owls are among many people's favourite family of birds. This could be because they have a similar facial arrangement to our own. 

Long-eared Owl after ringing at Spurn many years ago!
(c) 2015 Richard Broughton
Although Long-eared Owls are in the UK all the year round, the winter months are probably our best chance of seeing them. Long-eared Owls often had traditional roost sites to which they faithfully returned on an annual basis, but they are extremely susceptible to disturbance, so many of these traditional sites have now been lost. 
(c) 2015 Andy Leonard
Long-eared Owls are larger than both Little and Barn Owls, but they are much less aggressive than Tawny Owls, so they tend to be forced by the latter into more marginal breeding habitat. In Ireland where there are no Tawny Owls they can even be found in gardens, which is a much rarer occurrence in England. 
At Blacktoft Sands 4 years ago
Apart from the long ear tufts, Long-eared Owls may also be identified by their bright orange eyes. Short-eared Owls, Little Owls and Barn Owls are quite often found in bright sunlight, but Long-eared and Tawny Owls are the most nocturnal of all UK Owls. We have only once encountered a Long-eared owl hunting in daylight, but that was about 7.30 on a summer evening when it had a hungry growing brood to feed. All the other sightings have been of roosting birds in fairly thick cover. 
(c) 2015 Chris Cox [tiny file]

Long-eared Owls are a definite possibility next term, but they certainly cannot be guaranteed.  My groups will only be taken to a roost if it is a location which will cause no disturbance to the birds 

No comments: