location: Missoula, Montana best viewing hours: 24/7 time zone: Mountain Time
Named after its prominent “ear” tufts, the Long-eared Owl (abbreviated LEOW) is a medium-sized owl that travels lightly on the wing and looks slimmer and more upright on the perch than the Great Horned Owl.
Found in grasslands and open forests throughout North America, Europe, and parts of Asia, Long-eared Owls have bright yellow-orange eyes and buffy orange facial disks, black bills, and white to buffy chest feathers with brown streaking and barring.
Equipped with acute hearing for night hunting Long-eared Owls are primarily nocturnal, spending their time on the wing in search of small mammals. Usually silent, Long-eared Owls can be occasionally heard giving a deep singular “whooooo,” a haunting call that can be heard up to a kilometer away.
One of only a handful of owl species that roost communally during the winter, Long-eared Owls nest in groups of 2-20, although records exist of 100 or more. During the breeding season, pairs form and lay an average of 3-5 eggs. Born with white natal down, the baby owlets leave the nest about 21 days after hatching.
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