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Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday's Foto

A medium-sized, mottled brown and buffy colored eared owl, the Short-eared Owl is one of the world's most widely distributed. Found through the Old World, Iceland, the Hawaiian Islands, North and South America, this individual was photographed in Brooklyn, NY. Found primarily in open terrain, their preferred habitat is shrub-steppe, grasslands, agricultural areas, marshes, wet meadows, and shorelines. While they are mostly nocturnal, they are easily observed hunting at dawn and dusk. Their diet consists mainly of small mammals, but they will occasionally eat birds.

Due primarily to their wide distribution, the IUCN lists their conservation status as “Least Concern”. However, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation lists them as “Endangered” in the state. This is likely due to reforestation along with the loss of grasslands and other open habitats.

The best place to look for this owl in Brooklyn during the winter and early-spring is Floyd Bennett Field or Marine Park.

Their scientific name, Asio flammeus, means owl and fiery, flaming or flame-colored.

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