Short-eared Owl

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(Asio flammeus). Patient Number 24-13.

Date of admission: Jan 19, 2023.
Reason for admission: Feather Damage.

Patient History:

Short-eared owls belong to the genus ‘Asio,’ also known as the 'eared’ owls, as they have tufts of feathers that resemble mammalian ears. However, these are rarely seen. The short-eared owl’s species designation, ‘flammeus,’ is Latin, meaning “flaming, or, the color of fire”. The short-eared owl is a medium-sized owl, approximately 13 to 16 inches in length. Individuals have a large, round head, with large yellow eyes.

Short-eared owls hunt predominantly during dawn and dusk for small rodents. They can be found hunting over the grasslands and wetlands of rural Alberta. The continued urban development means that the owl’s historical range now contains many towns and cities, and these owls are occasionally observed hunting in urban settings.

Although not truly migratory, during the winter months short-eared owls have been known to travel to the southern areas of their range in search of higher rodent populations if numbers become scarce in the northern areas.

This short-eared owl was brought to AIWC after being found in a backyard in Northwest Calgary. It was observed not being able to fly, so was immediately transported to an affiliated veterinary clinic for overnight care. Once arriving at AIWC, our animal care staff determined that the owl was missing most of their primary tail feathers. They will likely need to remain with us until the summer when they can undergo a molt.

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