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Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) (2)
- Reported Feb 03, 2021 16:17 by Derek Hameister
- More Mesa, Santa Barbara, California
- Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&<q...>,-119.7963064&<ll...>,-119.7963064 - Checklist: https://ebird.org/checklist/S80391363 - Media: 4 Photos
- Comments: "I first spotted this bird perched from a distance of about 200 yards or so, sat on a snag a few feet over the ground. Luckily, I was able to follow one of the trails over to where the bird was perched. The bird seemed to pay little mind to the many bicyclists, hikers and joggers passing by not far from where he was perched. And luckily for him, the many passerby didn’t seem to pay him any mind either. While observing this bird, I had another fly directly over the first, heading west and quickly disappearing into a nearby canyon. Thus confirming that there were at least two birds present. The first bird sat on his perch for about 10 more minutes, before suddenly picking up and also flying down a nearby canyon and out of sight.
This was an overall medium-sized owl, definitively smaller than a Great-horned Owl, but also definitively larger than something like a Burrowing Owl. The bird was overall buffy brownish and intricately patterned. The head was very large, and had your classic owl-like disk-shaped face. The eyes were bright yellow, and the beak was black and down curved. At certain angles the short ear tufts were also visible the breast and belly had a pale buffy base, with dark brown streaking that became finer and sparser as you moved down from the breast toward the stomach. The wings and back were overall mottled brown, with some white streaking / speckling. In flight the birds very unique shape was quite apparent. The body was very barrel-shaped overall with a slightly tapering body towards a short tail. The wings were very long and were held at somewhat of an angle. The flight style was also quite different from other raptors like hawks or falcons. Overall very floppy and faster than other low-flying raptors like maybe a harrier."