In Indiana and Illinois, they’re endangered species. Short-eared Owls are birds of open country in nearly all latitudes. In our area, they’re most frequently seen in winter. In general, I’ve found them among the easier to see owl species because they are fairly apparent in the right habitat at the right time of day.
I think of frigid Midwestern prairies when I think of these birds, but the truth is they’re as much Midwestern as they’re of the Caribbean, the Galapagos and the Hawaiian Islands. The birds’ range is widespread across the globe and touches nearly every continent.
Their Latin name, Asio flammeus, piqued my curiosity. The Asio must refer to the eponymous continent. The flammeus conjures thoughts of a blazing fire and must be a reference to the buff and ochre cast to the bird, as seen in Shari’s photo above.
I have to admit these birds have already made it further in the tournament than I’d thought. But if you’ve seen them hunt a place like Kankakee Sands during a winter sunset, you’ll understand why they’re so captivating.
This should be a close battle to seen who makes the Chirpionship.
Pick: Short-eared Owl