Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

Status:  Uncommon/Rare
*Kentucky Species of Greatest Conservation Need*
Season Occurrence:  Usually observed in winter, observed very rarely during summer in scattered locations.
Distribution:  Winter - Statewide, though more rare in eastern Kentucky.  Summer - Nesting confirmed in west-central Kentucky in Ohio and Muhlenberg Counties in the late 1980's.
Preferred Habitat(s):  Open areas - grassland, pasture, hayfield, old field, reclaimed strip-mine land, etc.
Nesting Habits:  This species does not regularly nest in Kentucky.  However, documented nests in Kentucky were found on the ground in grassy areas.
Note:  In winter, Short-eared Owls will often form communal roosts (congregations of several owls which sleep in the same vicinity).  If you observe a large number (more than five of these birds), please report this to KDFWR by e-mailing

Adult Short-eared Owl
Adult Short-eared Owl
Photo by:  Kate Heyden
Adult Short-eared Owl
Adult Short-eared Owl
Photo by:  Ellis Laudermilk