Long eared owl in flight
Long eared owl in flight. In flight photograph of an adult long-eared owl, showing distinctive piercing golden eyes. Derbyshire, Peak District National Park.
Long eared owl in flight – More About the Long-eared owl:
Long-eared owls (Asio otus) are a rare and elusive species found in the UK. They typically inhabit woodland and heathland areas and show a preference for pine forest. These beautiful birds are named for their long, feathered ear tufts that sit atop their heads and give them a distinctive appearance.
Despite their relatively widespread distribution in the UK, long-eared owls are not often seen due to their secretive nature and nocturnal habits. These birds are masters of the night, using their keen sense of hearing and incredible eyesight locate prey in total darkness. Their diet typically consists of small birds and mammals such as voles, shrews, and mice.
One of the most remarkable things about long-eared owls is their social behaviour. These birds are not solitary creatures, but rather form small communities known as roosts. These roosts can consist of up to 20 or more owls, with each bird occupying a specific perch and maintaining a strict hierarchy.
During the breeding season, long-eared owls form monogamous pairs and work together to raise their young. The male will typically provide food for the female and chicks, while the female will incubate the eggs and care for the young. Their nests are built high up in the trees, using sticks and other materials to create a shallow depression lined with feathers and other soft materials.
Despite their close-knit social structure, long-eared owls are facing a number of threats in the UK. Habitat loss and fragmentation, pesticide use, and disturbance from humans and domestic animals are all contributing to declining populations in some areas.
Conservation efforts are underway to protect and conserve long-eared owl populations in the UK, including habitat restoration and creation, and measures to reduce disturbance and protect nesting sites. By working together to protect these fascinating birds and their communities, we can ensure that they continue to thrive in the wild for generations to come.
Find more about Long-eared owls here.
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