Short-eared owl  

Short-eared owl

Silently swooping over the open English countryside in search of its next meal is a short-eared owl, though that"s something of a misnomer. Named for the inconspicuous tufts on top of its head that resemble ears, the owl"s true ears are on the side of its head, hidden by feathers. But those tiny false "ears," which may function as display feathers or camouflage, lend the owl a distinctive appearance, and the short-eared owl is often affectionately called "shortie." Here in England, short-eared owls are seen more frequently in winter, when their numbers are boosted by an influx of continental birds migrating from Scandinavia, Russia, and Iceland.

© Ben Hall/Minden Pictures

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