Date: 1/6/21 11:38 am From: Bob Day <rhday52...> Subject: Re: NORTHERN HARRIERS AND SHORT-EARED OWLS
Interesting that the owls are nocturnal down here—in Alaska, they are diurnal. Same for Hawaii.
Sent from my iPhone email thingie; please excuse the brevity.
> On Jan 6, 2021, at 9:51 AM, Joseph Neal <joeneal...> wrote:
> In Arkansas, wintering Northern Harriers and Short-eared Owls are attracted to the same ecological niches: harriers by day, owls by night. In both cases, habitat is extensive open grassland, with the grass dense enough to allow both to roost out of sight, just at different times. In his 1951 Arkansas bird book, Bill Baerg attributed an “invasion” of Short-eared Owls (December 4 to March 25) to a heavy infestation of cotton rats. More recently, at least six Short-eared Owls were roosting in a former prairie field immediately east of Woolsey Wet Prairie Wildlife Sanctuary in Fayetteville on January 17, 2010. Leesia Marshall, Andy Scaboo, and others saw up to 10 Northern Harriers in the same field that winter. Bill and Toka Beall counted 5 owls in fields at Frog Bayou WMA on January 31, 2018. At least 6 harriers were in the same area. What they all have in common are very extensive, open fields. They wouldn’t be there without food abundance. According to Cornell’s Birds of the World, both concentrate on small mammals, but also take others, including birds. The owls have facial discs that help it acoustically locate prey. So do Northern Harriers. The idea that fields with heavy use by wintering harriers will host wintering owls seems well-supported.
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