Eclipse  (Short-eared Owl)

            Asio flammeus


Short-eared owls are less commonly seen at Critter Creek.  They are usually found on the open chaparral and flatlands on the western side of the Central Valley.  They are medium-sized owls at about 15 inches tall.  The basic body coloration is streaked tawny brown with light facial disks.  Their markings are quite striking.  They have bright yellow eyes with no ear tufts.  The vocalization is a high, raspy barking sound.  They are silent in flight.  Because their eyes are positioned in the front of their head, they have excellent binocular vision even at close range.  Their vision at night is 100 times more sensitive than humans and their hearing is equally sensitive.  The feathery facial disks help channel sound to their large eardrums.  They are capable of turning their head 270 degrees.


Eclipse was transferred from the Ridgecrest area once it was determined that his broken wing had left him permanently injured.  He is calm in his mew and seems unbothered by visitors.  His appearance is quite striking.