Short-eared Owls arrive in bumper numbers


It looks set to be an excellent winter for Short-eared Owl in Britain, following an influx of the species in October.

Birds were reported from well over 300 sites on BirdGuides during the month, with many sites hosting multiple individuals. This follows a run of consecutive poor winters for the species – and it looks likely that the 2023-24 will see large numbers in Britain.

Short-eared Owls have been seen in bumper numbers during October (Jeremy Mcclements).

The first major signs of an influx came on 8 October, when easterly winds saw a huge arrival along the east coast. The biggest count came at Holme Dunes, Norfolk – a remarkable 54 were logged arriving in off the North Sea. Other large in-off counts that day included 20 at the Isle of May, Fife; 18 at Anderby Creek, Lincolnshire; and 16 at Blakeney Point, Norfolk.

The majority of records continue to come from northern and eastern areas, but birds have filtered south and, in some places, multiple individuals are present. This includes up to 13 at Wallasea Island RSPB, Essex, on 27 October.

You can find out where you can see Short-eared Owls in your local area at www.birdguides.com/sightings or via the BirdGuides app. New users are entitled to a one-month free trial.

A map of all Short-eared Owl sightings on BirdGuides during October 2023, demonstrating the high numbers at large in Britain (BirdGuides.com)