ID tips & tricks TIME OF DAY
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