Dan was driving around the pasture looking for Sirecia Lespedeza when he spotted this owl either hiding or nesting in the grass. Owls are difficult to identify because they are so often heard rather than seen. It’s hard to say if this one was migrating or still hanging around with the buzzards.
Our Audubon Guide indicates this is a Short-eared Owl. Here is some of what is said about this species.
Habitat: marshes, open grasslands, prairies; open country during migration.
Range: Breeds from Alaska across Canada south locally to California, Kansas and New Jersey. Winteres in southern part of breeding range.
Often seen in late afternoon as it begins to move about in preparation for a night of hunting.
This is an exciting addition to our list of local birds. When describing the short-eared owl, the Audubon Guide mentioned the very short ear tufts are rarely visible. I think we have a tuft sighting as well.