Long-eared Owl

The Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) (previously known as: Strix otus) is a species of owl which breeds in Europe, Asia, and North America. Texas lies firmly in its non-breeding or wintering grounds, but sightings are rare. In the twenty plus years that the rehabilitators of the Wildlife Center have been caring for raptors, they have only cared for two or three. Reminiscent of a Great Horned Owl, the Long-eared Owl is much smaller and is considered a medium sized owl. This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, family Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. Barn Owls form the other family of owls called Tytonidae. While adult and sub-adult Screech Owls are sometimes confused as baby Great Horned Owls, the coloration and eye color is wrong. If the public had greater access to Long-eared Owls, the confusion of a grown Long-eared Owl as a baby Great Horned Owl would make more sense. Should you have the honor of seeing a Long-eared Owl in the wild, note that it is significantly smaller than the Great Horned Owl, the facial disks are orange and the ear tufts are much closer together. In parts of its range, the Long-eared Owl is considered a species at risk, or at some level of being endangered. Habitat destruction is the primary explanation for the decline of this raptor. Boreal forests are being cut down for development, land use is changing from timber to agriculture and tree farms are shifting from soft woods like pine to hard woods. Tree farm management has even impacted the Long-eared Owl’s habitat by thinning the underbrush and undesired trees. The Long-eared Owl nests usually in coniferous forests, but [...]