Short-Eared Owl Asio flammeus
The Short-eared Owl was once a frequent nester in the marshes and meadowlands of New Jersey, but draining and development of these wetlands have greatly reduced the habitat for these birds, and recent breeding records have put this owl on the NJ Endangered species list. However, it is still a fairly common winter resident. This owl lives in open fields, marshes and meadows, and nests on the ground, well hidden in the reeds and grasses. It is often seen on the wing in daylight, flying low to the ground in a zig-zagging moth-like manner. Many times it can be found at airports, where runways and surrounding open areas suit its lifestyle. Medium sized, 13 to 17 inches tall with a wingspan of 39 to 44 inches, the Short-eared Owl has a rounded head with small inconspicuous feather tufts, and bright yellow eyes. It feeds primarily on rodents, specifically field mice.
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