The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local Sports

February 21, 2013

Short-Eared Owl numbers are increasing

Medina Journal-Register — If you are out around east Shelby in the late afternoon or evening you may want to take a look around the area to the south of Fletcher Chapel Road. In recent years there has been some unique Short-eared Owls staying in a section between East Shelby Road and the Sour Springs Road.

 This owl is a endangered species in New York State and is only seen in a few places across the state. The area south of Fletcher Chapel Road, especially on the Posson Road is one of these places where you have a good chance of observing one.

Their numbers are increasing in this particular place every year. In 2011 seven where being seen in this area but that number has risen to 13 this year.

This medium size owl has two short ear tufts on top of it’s head that may be standing up or laying down, unseen. The yellow eyes set off the round beige face with the lower body being white with beige streaks. The wings are large for their body size and when they are perched the wings stick out pass the tail. The under side of the wings are white but have dark markings at the wrist and the primary feather tips. The flying pattern is with irregular wing beats that give it a “flopping” or moth-like flight.

These owls become active before darkness, sometimes by mid-afternoon which makes them much more visible to those who are interested in seeing them. They prefer open areas like grasslands and large open farmlands. These are the type of places they like to hunt by flying low looking for voles and mice often giving a raspy barking type call.

When not flying they like to perch in tree in the open, shrubs, fence posts, cut-off corn stalks and any hay bales that have been left in the fields. They will perch on telephone poles, farm equipment and even on marker posts on the side of the road.

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