‘Shorties’ are Back!

Author: Whidbey Camano Land Trust | 11/15/20
       

Short-eared Owl at Crockett Lake

A Short-eared Owl enjoys a meal at Crockett Lake Preserve in November 2020. Photo by Jennifer Holmes.

The subject line that came into our Land Trust inbox said it all: “Short-eared Owls are Back!”

The annual return of Short-eared Owls at Crockett Lake Preserve always creates a bit of a stir this time of year. Whidbey Island wildlife photographer Jennifer Holmes couldn’t wait to tell us about the sightings on November 7 and was equally excited to get back to the preserve to take more pictures.

Short-eared Owls are quite camera-friendly because they hunt during daytime hours, mostly around dawn and dusk. They’re also rather beautiful to photograph, featuring striking yellow eyes outlined in black.

The owls return to Crockett Lake Preserve each year around the beginning of November. They’re drawn to the preserve’s open terrain and abundance of small mammals to hunt, particularly voles. They stay as late as April.

Short-eared Owls are often seen perched on a post or flying low to the ground over vegetation, darting around with moth-like qualities.

Holmes said she’s seen as many as four owls at one time. When she spots one, she’ll often pull on to the shoulder of the highway to take photos from her car. “When I pull my face out of my camera, I often find there are more cars parked next to me,” she said.

Look Hoo Returned!

Enjoy incredible images kindly shared by local wildlife photographers Jann Ledbetter and Holmes from this month. Thank you Jann and Jennifer! Got a photo of a Short-eared Owl or other wildlife on the islands that you’d like to share with us? Email them to ron@wclt.org. Thank you!

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