Stranger in a Strange Land?

This afternoon we were contacted by the local newspaper to help identify a strange looking owl that had been spotted locally, and also asked for some information on the day-time habits of our feathered friends..

A reader had sent some pictures to the East Anglian Daily Times, and they posed quite a puzzle. To be honest - we were undecided: at first glance the subject looked like a Bengal Eagle Owl - a desert dweller if ever there was one, and therefore (unless it was an escaped captive bird) way off it's normal beat - or, it was a long eared owl, much more likely because the species is a native of these isles (though in itself quite a rare siting as these birds are notoriously shy). Both species are quite similar in size. What do you think? Click here to e-mail us your opinion.

On the question of an owl being seen in the daytime, it is not unusual to see Owls during the day during the winter months as the trees are bare and the owl does not have the same cover to hide as it normally would in the summer. It is a common misconseption that all owls are purely nocturnal, but many species native to the British Isles are "crupuscular", which means they will hunt mainly in the low light at dusk and dawn.

Long Eared Owls hunt mainly on open range land - clearings, fallow fields and river banks - rather than the woodlands where they roost and nest, which is usually in old un-ocupied stick nests belonging to crows, magpies, ravens or herons.

Maz. Robinson