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Long Earred Owlab Refuge

"It is the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman Which gives the stern'st good-night."
Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth

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Long Earred OwlBrenda Dadds Woodward

Long earred owl. Photo left  by Deb MacKenzie, photo right by Brenda Dadds Woodward

    Long earred Owl
Asio Otus
Order: Strigiformes
Family: Strigidae

Genus: Asio

Called the moyen duc (medium duke) in French as opposed to the grand duc (the Great Horned Owl), the long eared owl is one of the owls most adapted to total night living and can actually catch mice in conditions of zero light.  To bring this about, the ears are placed on different places on the head, not to be confused with the ear tufts, which are used for hiding in plain sight, to make the birds look like stumps. Our owl is constantly puffing himself up to make himself look more imposing, so it is hard to imagine his stump persona.  The facial disk, more pronounced than the short eared owl's, serves to concentrate sound like a reverse megaphone.  It also reflects and concentrates light.

The long eared owl nests in dense brush or forest close to fields or open forests, where it hunts.  It will use the nest of a crow or other bird of similar size or occasionally nest in a tree cavity.  Its main food is small rodents, but it will occasionally take a bird.

The long eared owl is very distinctive in appearance, with its orange facial disk separated by a white X and long ears.  You can see its cage mate, the short eared owl, has a less developed facial disc and eyes a bit more on the side of the head, more like a hawk.  The long eared owl has extremely delicate and beautiful barring on the chest.  Like all owls, this detailing makes it more beautiful the closer you get to it.  They range in weight from 7.5 to 15.5 ounces and from 13.5 to 15.5 inches in length, with a wingspan of 35-40 inches.  The females are at the top of the scale and the males at the bottom.

The moyen duc is widespread across North America and may or may not migrate south in winter depending on the availability of food rather than the temperature.  It is losing ground to habitat destruction, but is not as threatened as many other owls.

Gary Berke

Brenda dadds woodward

by Brenda Dadds Woodward

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"A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk
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Steve & Wendy Hall
PO Box 555, 977 Springfield Road, Wilmington, NY 12997
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