|Short-eared Owl ©HvHughes|
My first experience with Short-eared Owls years ago was unforgettable.
It was winter and bone-chilling cold. I drove up to Amherst Island in the St. Lawrence Seaway with friends to see Northern Saw-whets, up-close and personal. We got great looks at the little owls.
But it was the farm field full of Short-eareds at dusk - doing their wing-clap display and barking like dogs that I'll never forget. They were so loud I could hear them over the sound of my car engine and the noise of my heater. I considered myself very lucky - and thought I'd never see anything like it again.
That was before I moved to northwestern Minnesota.
I've lived here a little more than a year - and I have to sat the owling up here is the best I've ever seen.
|New Years Short-eared Owl ©HvHughes|
In early January, I spotted a Short-eared Owl in a snow storm. Months later, I happened upon short-ears wing-clapping at 3pm on a cloudy day less than a mile from my house. But the Short-ears Saturday night had to be my best sighting ever.
The CRP fields were full of these stubby-bodied birds with the huge moth-like flight. We spotted 2 on the ground by the side of the road. Then two more nearby on the opposite side of the road and another sitting atop a power pole. Had to be flight school. We sat and watched as one, who appeared to be flying well, crash-landed on his noggin.
Then tonight, driving home from the Library in Thief River Falls, I rolled down my car window and slowed to photograph a Loggerhead Shrike hunt from a power line. First I'd seen since this month - same time as last year. Then I heard it: the barking of a Short-eared Owl - first one, then another and another.
Yep. There they were - two more Short-ears. Awesome!