Monday, February 02, 2009

Weekly Bird of Prey.

Out on the ranchlands for our Sunday running of the hounds with Dutch, we popped this fellow up out of the tall grass. We see a lot of Burrowing Owls when we're hunting, but this is the second time in a couple of weeks we've seen this larger, Long Eared Owl.

We have our new friend, Zac, to thank for the identification. He'd seen them in a nearby field the previous day, and did the research to confirm the i.d. I admit, I did a lot of Googling last night, and initially was beginning to question that it really was a Long Eared Owl, because the habitat described on the various websites just didn't square with where we saw this bird. In the end, I decided it couldn't be anything else, and the "X" of white feathers on the face, just barely visible on the image below, did the trick.
We should have apologized for disturbing its sleep, as this bird is a nocturnal hunter. Sorry.
UPDATE 2/3/09: Heard from Steve Bodio, a man with much knOWLedge on the subject. He says, with about as much certainty as possible, that the above pictured bird is a SHORT Eared Owl. So there you have it. Good thing I hadn't checked anything off on my Life List yet.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:39 PM

    I went back and forth on the ID as well. The owls could very well be short eared owls though some range maps indicate that short eareds are not found in southern new mexico while others indicate that they are. The habitat and habitat of staying on the ground certainly fits with short eareds. Hopefully one of your readers can further clarify the ID.

    Zac

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  2. Dammit Zac, we trusted you! ;o)

    FWIW, I did find an image of a long eared in flight that looked just like one of mine. The other thing is that most descriptions say it's "crow size", and what we saw was bigger... say "Raven" :o)

    So help us out people!

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