Bird, bug, butterfly and a wild variety of photos from Belarus, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland and Spain by Irish wildlife photographer Patrick J. O'Keeffe and invited guests

Saturday, 31 August 2013

SHORT EARED OWL (Asio flammeus) Turvey Nature Reserve, Donabate, Fingal, Co. Dublin, Ireland

 
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In Ireland, Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) is mainly a scarce Winter visitor to eastern and southern coastal locations. Historically, the absence of voles from the Irish landscape has prevented it from becoming a breeding resident. Elsewhere in Europe, breeding success is heavily dependent on an abundance of voles which is an important prey item fed to young. Probably as a result of accidental introduction, Bank Vole (Myodes glareolus) has now become established in South West Ireland and subsequently Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) has bred in that region. More recently, several pairs are now breeding in North East Ireland. Analysis of nest site owlets pellets revealed that the main prey item fed to young was Field Vole (Microtus agrestis), a species previously unrecorded in Ireland.