ID tips & tricks TIME OF DAY

Bird Watching (UK) - - November Id Challenge -

Owls have ex­cep­tion­ally acute hear­ing and bril­liant eye­sight, al­low­ing them to hunt in the depth of night. Ev­ery­one knows that. But not all owls ex­clu­sively hunt in the dark. Most species come out to play in the cre­pus­cu­lar hours, but some will also seek prey in full sun­shine. Knowl­edge of which species are likely to be seen in the day­light can be a very use­ful first clue to which species you are deal­ing with. The owls most likely to be seen in full day­light are Barn Owl, Lit­tle Owl and Short-eared Owl. The first two are easy to iden­tify (es­pe­cially when you know they can be di­ur­nal), but Short-eared Owl can be con­fused with the closely re­lated Long-eared Owl. How­ever, the lat­ter species is rarely seen fly­ing in the day­time, so that lit­tle bit of knowl­edge can be a use­ful (if not com­pletely fool­proof) first step to iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. Of course, owls can be seen dur­ing the day­time at roost. For in­stance, Long-eared Owls in win­ter may roost com­mu­nally in pro­tected bushes and trees; and it is the way most bird­watch­ers get to see this elu­sive species. Even noc­tur­nal species, such as Tawny Owl, may some­times wake up, fly and even call and sing dur­ing the day. So, be aware and ready when­ever you are walk­ing through wood­land in the day­time.

Short-eared Owls are one of the species that read­ily and fre­quently hunt in broad day­light, even bright sun­shine

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