Bird Identification – Short-eared Owl – Marsh Owl – Meadow Owl

This owl, and its long-eared cousin, wear the tufts of feathers in their ears that resemble harmless horns. Unlike its relatives, the short-eared owl does some hunting by daylight, especially in cloudy weather, and like the marsh hawk it prefers to live in grassy, marshy places frequented by meadow mice. On the other hand, the long-eared owl respects family traditions, and goes about only after dark. “It usually spends the day in some evergreen woods, thick willow copse or alder swamp, although rarely it may be found in open places,” says Dr. Fisher. “The bird is not wild and will allow itself to be closely approached. When conscious that its presence is recognised, it sits upright, draws the feathers close to its body, and erects the ear-tufts, resembling in appearance a piece of weather-beaten bark more than a bird.” The long and the short of it is, that few people, except professional bird students, know very much about these or any other owls, for few find them by day or forsake their couches when they are abroad. We may take Dr. Johnson’s advice and “give our days and nights to the study of Addison,” but few of us give even a part of our days and less of our nights to the study of the birds about us.