Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)
What they look like: Long-eared Owls are brownish-gray, medium-sized owls with long ear-tufts. They have orange facial disk. These brown and white birds cryptically marked, which means they blend into the background. The male is usually paler and smaller than female.
They are a nocturnal bird of prey like other owls [nocturnal = active at night]. Raptors have strong grasping talons for killing prey, and a hooked upper beak for tearing meat.
Call: Song of male is an even hoot, repeated every two to four seconds. Alarm calls vary; most common alarm call resembles barking.
Where they live: The Long-eared Owl is widespread in the North America but it is rarely seen. The Long-eared Owl roosts and nests in trees by day and hunts in open areas by night.
This species is uncommon in eastern Washington, nesting in cliffs and riparian areas (in old tree nests; chiefly magpie nests). They are rare in western Washington, with three recent sites: Drayton Harbor/Blaine, Lake Terrell (both in Whatcom County), and along the Skagit River.
Click the range map to learn more about the distribution of Long-eared Owls in Washington.
What they eat: Long-eared Owls eat small mammals, mice and voles. They also eat small birds and reptiles.
Nesting: Long-eared Owls nest in large abandoned stick nests - often made by crows, ravens, magpies, or hawks. Females usually lay 5-6 eggs, then incubate the them for 26-28 days.
Behavior: The Long-eared Owl hunts mostly at night. They are sometimes active before dusk, especially when they are feeding young. They fly low to the ground when hunting. They locate prey by sound or sight, then swoop down and grab it with their sharp talons.
The Long-eared Owl can catch mice in complete darkness.
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Photos: Natures Pics