Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 52

Apparently, these grasslands of
Adams County were producing a
bonanza of food for both raptors and
foxes. But would there be short-eared
owls?
We needn't have worried.
By 5:30, some folks in the line of
cars along Pumping Station and Cunningham roads already had their scopes
set up.
A northern harrier coursed low over
the field, and a red-tailed hawk perched
in a tree along its edge.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere,
at 5:50 p.m., three short-eared owls
appeared, flying close to the ground,
diving down and then sitting in the
field, their heads swiveling about in
search of food, their bodies lit by the
lowering sun.
Eight minutes later, two more owls
appeared, their reddish-brown backs
glowing in the light.
One landed on a fence post across
from a nearby parked car.
Realizing these owls weren't bothered by spectators, people emerged
from their vehicles. The owls even
seemed to pose obligingly for photos.
We, too, eased out of our car and set
up our scope.
Several times, a couple of the owls
flew across the road in front of the
parked cars.
At one point, a car moving slowly
down the road stopped, and the driver
- a local landowner - asked me what
everyone was looking at.
She was not aware of the owl extravaganza that had been playing out here.
When we explained, pointing out the
owls, she joined the parade of watchers.
Fluttering like overgrown moths, the
52

owls soon flew so near, they filled our
binocular lenses.
We were even able to distinguish the
lighter-colored males from the darker
females.
In neither case could we see the short
ear-tufts for which they are named.
The tufts have nothing to do with
ears, rather, they are feathers, which
become more prominent at the slightest
sign of danger.
Short-eared owls' ear openings are
asymmetrical. This allows them to hear
prey in both ears, and they can target
it when they dive after it head first, as
some of the owls we were watching did.
Only one caught a vole.
Instead of eating it, though, it continued carrying it as it flew around.
Even when the owl finally sat down in
the field, I could not see it eating. But
because they often swallow small mammals whole, I might have missed it.
As quickly as they appeared, the
owls disappeared after sunset into a
nearby roost, probably the line of trees
at the far edge of the field.
I was elated that - at last - I had seen
these charismatic owls, even though
they were in smaller numbers than
the more than 45 owls reported back
in 2005.
Still, it was reassuring that at least a
few short-eared owls were still spending their winters in Pennsylvania.
Known also as "bog owls," "swamp
owls" and "farm owls," only a few
short-eared owls breed here in what is
the southernmost limit of their nesting
range in the northeastern United States.
Historically, they nested in bogs
and large marshes at scattered sites
in Pennsylvania, primarily in Lehigh,



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - A
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - B
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - C
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - D
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2016 - Cover4
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