In the twilight the owls go hunting. This Short-Eared Owl just caught an adult Redwing, – such a big prey. You can not but feel sorry for the poor Redwing. The owl was only a few metres from us and caught us off guard when it suddenly took flight . Only a short time later we saw at least four other owls. All of them hunting.
This summer in East and North Iceland was especially favourable for owls and that accounts for the numbers we saw this evening in Hérað, near Hallormstaðaskógur, East Iceland.
Owls are mysterious birds often associated with the dusk and night time. They howl in the night, creating a ghostly atmosphere and are often heard and seen in horror and crime movies.
They are nocturnal creatures and their wide staring eyes lend them not only a ghostly but also a sharp and wise appearance. They have a very good eyesight and can turn their head around so nothing goes unnoticed. Tufts of feathers on the owl’s head lend them a likeness to horned devils and their shrill howls have given them a place in ancient folklore. Owls are both fascinating and mysterious.
The Short-Eared Owl (Asio flammeus) is the most common Owl in Iceland. Her niece the Long-Eared Owl (Asio otus) is quite scarce here and there are only a few Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus).
The Short-Eared Owl is most commonly at large in the twilight looking for mice which are her favourite food. In March the Short-Eared Owls are more likely to be seen in the daytime when they start claiming territory. Then they may be seen on fence poles and in tree tops.
Driving inland in southern Iceland last weekend we saw two Long-Eared Owls. It is always interesting to see owls and being able to photograph them makes it even more enjoyable.
The Short-eared Owl that was here yesterday came and went several times during the day. It was obviously feeling quite at home and trying out different locations in the garden.
Someone said that the birds seemed to know that they would have their picture taken if they visited our garden. This Owl at least seemed quite keen on being photographed. Alas, it is probably not on-line to see how great it looks.
A Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) surprised us with a visit this morning. We noticed it sitting relaxed on the ground for quite a while. The smaller birds were hopping around it giving it no notice and the Owl made no attempt to attack any of them.
A Short-eared Owl has been seen flying in Selfoss in the past few weeks and we saw it here in the garden one night around the middle of March. The photo was taken an hour ago in the garden when the Owl had flown and come back again.
The numbers of owls in Iceland are increasing. There are three species of owls here. This is the Short-Eared Owl (Asio flammeus) and it is the most common, with around 300 -500 pairs in Iceland.
The Long-Eared Owl (Asio otus) comes in second place and then there is the Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus). Their numbers in Iceland are unknown. The chance of seeing an owl is most in the twilight in summertime when they are looking for food for their young ones. The owls mostly eat mice. – It is always a treat to see an owl 🙂