Long-Eared Owl

Asio otus
Range Map

The Long-Eared Owl inhabits dense vegetation next to open grassland or shrub-land, and open forests across North America and Eurasia.

Long-Eared Owls often use crow and raven nests to raise their young. Their primary prey of choice is small mammals, but in lean times they will take birds and insects for nourishment.

Owls have specialized ears, set asymmetrically on their head, one side higher than the other. Thes gives them three-dimensional hearing. The Long-Eared Owl’s ears are more highly developed than most of their peers.

Science recognises four subspecies (some say six) of Long-Eared Owl in two groups:

  • A. o. wilsonianus lives in the east from southeastern Canada to northern Oklahoma and Virginia. They spend winters in Mexico.
  • A. o. tuftsi in the west lives from western Canada to northern Mexico.
  • A. o. otis lives in Eurasia.
  • A. o. canariensis lives only on the Canary Islands.

My only meeting with this species has come in the deserts of southern California. The first encounter was in the Anza-Borrego, and the second was from further north in the Mojave.

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