IM­POR­TANCE OF HABI­TAT

Bird Watching (UK) - - November Id Challenge -

The co­me­dian Harry Hill once did a rou­tine about how the Tawny Owl is a bird of the wood­land and the Barn Owl a bird of the barn and that the two should never in­vade the other’s ter­ri­tory. He was re­mark­ably near the mark, as habi­tat is a vi­tal first con­sid­er­a­tion in owl ID. Barn Owls do like to nest in barns (as well as hol­low trees), with open coun­try their favoured hunt­ing habi­tat. Tawny Owls are al­most in­vari­ably found in or very close to wood­land. Long-eared Owls are also wood­land birds, but will hunt rough grass­land near their wood­land roost­ing and breed­ing habi­tat. Short-eared Owls are largely birds of open coun­try, shun­ning any woods ex­cept very young plan­ta­tions. An eared owl seen hunt­ing in open coun­try at early dusk or even in the day is more likely to be a Short-eared than a Long-eared. Lit­tle Owls like a va­ri­ety of farm­land and park­land type of habi­tat. One other thing to con­sider is that our most nu­mer­ous owl, the Tawny, does not oc­cur on the is­land of Ire­land.

Barn Owls are birds of open coun­try, hunt­ing for small mam­mals in grass

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