Short-eared Owl off Lighthouse Point


Tim Bray
 

9 November 2022 - Scoping off Lighthouse Point I watched a Peregrine Falcon fly out to sea and begin harrying what looked like another raptor. After some dive-bombing drama the second bird turned and flew toward the Point, and as it got closer I could see it was a Short-eared Owl. (The "flappy" flight was the first clue, then I could see the rounded wings, blunt head and finally the dark carpals.) The Peregrine eventually returned to the beach, at which point the Owl reversed course and flew back out to sea, eventually disappearing into the low clouds offshore. Seems like very odd behavior for an Owl, but then, Short-eared are rather odd Owls.

If you find yourself near an open grassy or brushy meadow at dusk, watch for that characteristic flight habit. Sometimes described as "moth-like," Short-eared Owls fly with deep, exaggerated up-and-down wingbeats. They flap-and-glide low over fields, much like Harriers, but those wingbeats really set them apart.
For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwAAKxdUVLY


Jim Havlena
 

Another piece of information regarding Short-eared Owls is that clapping loudly in a brushy habitat can cause them to lift up from the brush and then drop back down.   I've done this numerous times in the Carrizo Plan in eastern San Luis Obispo county (during CBCs).
Jim Havlena


On 11/9/2022 4:46 PM, Tim Bray wrote:

9 November 2022 - Scoping off Lighthouse Point I watched a Peregrine Falcon fly out to sea and begin harrying what looked like another raptor. After some dive-bombing drama the second bird turned and flew toward the Point, and as it got closer I could see it was a Short-eared Owl. (The "flappy" flight was the first clue, then I could see the rounded wings, blunt head and finally the dark carpals.) The Peregrine eventually returned to the beach, at which point the Owl reversed course and flew back out to sea, eventually disappearing into the low clouds offshore. Seems like very odd behavior for an Owl, but then, Short-eared are rather odd Owls.

If you find yourself near an open grassy or brushy meadow at dusk, watch for that characteristic flight habit. Sometimes described as "moth-like," Short-eared Owls fly with deep, exaggerated up-and-down wingbeats. They flap-and-glide low over fields, much like Harriers, but those wingbeats really set them apart.
For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwAAKxdUVLY