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Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)

Posted on Jan 17, 2015

Here’s an old photo from one of my point and shoot cameras, zoomed in quite far about 30 times and further cropped, of a Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) roosting in a tree. Taking such a photo during the daylight hours, in the bright winter sun, of such a sensitive bird species should only be done from far away. You do not want to risk disturbing or flushing them from their location as Long-eared Owls are especially sensitive to human intrusion. They will be alarmed easily and fly from the location, exposing them to attacks from other predators and mobbing by songbirds. They will also often not return to that location again either, putting them at much greater mortal risk. If you are ever lucky enough to find a Long-eared Owl then please take great care to give them an abundance of room, and do not publish the location publicly. Tell your friends a wonderful story of your sighting and have any photographs be from far away. This bird had its eyes on me from afar but we had a lot of branches between us allowing it to feel concealed. Its eyes, while alert, were not stretched wide or showing any panic (as some photos often dramatically depict), and I knew I was at a safe range before making my reversal and escape.

Long-eared Owl roosting tree-058

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator