Short-eared Owls

March 13, 2015 0 By Audrey

By the end of my work day Monday I felt twitchy.

After birding last weekend I was eager to be outside again, but by the time I leave my desk-job it’s nearly 5pm and long past ideal birding time…but perhaps it is a good time to see owls. For fun, I checked the BirdsEye app.

I’m still on the fence about using technology to find birds- will it lead to overexposure? Does it ruin the surprise element? Of course, I can see the positives- data collection, a general “count” of what birds are where/when…and a great time-saver for birders.

This day, I decided to save time. A Short-eared Owl sighting was posted the day prior only 45 minutes away! I was game. I grabbed my camera and binoculars and headed out. Traffic was awful. I didn’t care. I was elated at the possibility of seeing an owl! Would it still be there? What else would I see!…

The first thing I saw was a fast blur that I thought might be an owl…

Northern Harrier

Black wing-tips and a white rump identifies this as a Northern Harrier!

Then, far away in a field I saw what I thought was a cat that turned out to be a coyote!


I drove so slowly, and stopped and started the car so much, a concerned resident came out of their house to ask if I was looking for someone. Abashedly, I replied, um…I’m here for an owl. She laughed, “Oh! – I guess we’re just so used to seeing them here”. Used to them? Must be nice.

I continued on and saw this neat-o barn I thought might have some birds near the roof.


Sure enough! Hello, Great Horned Owl!

Great Horned Owl

This spontaneous birding trip was going better than I’d hoped and I hadn’t even seen Short-eared Owls yet! Past the barn, I saw another Northern Harrier in the grass! What a sharp-looking face.

Northern Harrier

And then…the icing on the cake, Short-eared Owls!!

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl

It’s official. I’m in love with birding.

Tweets and chirps,