Northern Long-eared Owl

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(Asio otus). Patient Number 24-11.

Date of admission: Jan 18, 2023.
Reason for admission: Eye and Shoulder Injury.

Patient History:

Smaller than a Great Horned Owl, Long-eared Owls are long, slender, medium-sized owls with long ear tufts. They average about 13 – 15 inches in height and weigh close to 250 grams.

These owls are nocturnal, generally spending their days roosting in thick wooded areas and camouflaging perfectly with their surroundings. Oftentimes many people are not aware that a long-eared owl is roosting in their area. The only indication can be their quintessential long, low hoots, which can be heard from distances of 1km away. They are found throughout the northern hemisphere in temperate forests and woodlands, though there is a record of smaller populations in North and East Africa, the Azores, and the Canary Islands.

Long-eared owls roost communally during the winter, with an average roost consisting of two to twenty birds. Their diet consists of mainly small mammals. They swallow their prey whole, and then regurgitate the indigestible parts in pellets, usually one per day.

The Long-eared owl breeding season is between February and July. They often select nests previously used by other species, with the female laying a clutch of 4-6 eggs. Incubation is conducted by females for a period of 3-4 weeks. The male will provide for the female during this time, even up to 2 weeks after hatching. The young will climb out of the nest and start taking their first flights by 5 weeks old, and will naturally start to disperse from their parents at 10-11 weeks old.

This long-eared owl was found after a suspected window collision in Airdrie, AB. When they did not fly away immediately, the finder reached out to a representative at AIWC through our Hotline. An examination found that the owl was suffering from a possible dislocation of the right shoulder joint, in addition to trauma to the left eye. Once they have made a full recovery, they will be returned to a suitable area, close to where they were found.