eBird maps track Short-eared Owl movements


In On the Move, our regular migration column, we feature pairs of range maps from eBird that you can use to compare where birds of interest are at different times of the year. We featured the Short-eared Owl, pictured above, in our January/February 2019 issue.

Map of the Short-eared OwleBird distribution maps show where Short-eared Owls were spotted in February 2007-2017 (left) and June 2007-2017.

One of the most cosmopolitan owl species in the world, the Short-eared Owl has a remarkable ability to travel long distances and is found in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. During June, the owl is found throughout much of Alaska and Canada, as well as large parts of the western states, Great Plains and Great Lakes regions, where it breeds in grasslands, grasslands , tundra, swamps and agricultural areas. By February, Short-eareds have largely left the northern extent of their breeding range, being found in nearly all of the lower 48 regions and southern Canada where suitable habitat exists. In North America, there are concerns about apparent population declines, although the bird’s nomadic nature, crepuscular activity schedule, and low overall abundance make it difficult to study. Look for the species’ distinctive moth-like flight as it moves low over the main hunting grounds in search of food.

View eBird’s real-time range map for the Short-eared Owl.

A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the January/February 2019 issue of BirdWatching.