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The Short-eared Owl is widely distributed in North America and is associated with open-country habitats such as tundra, grasslands, and rangelands, where it nest and roosts on the ground.

Although most tundra habitats appear intact, other habitats such as grassland and rangelands have been lost, fragmented, or converted for other use.  Consequently, Short-eared Owl populations appear to be in significant decline throughout North America.

Although the ORI has been studying the Short-eared Owl in various capacities since 1985, our current research has focused on survey protocols, breeding ecology, and movement in western Montana. We continue to work with private landowners and land managers to provide information about the locations and timing of Short-eared Owl nests. 


This information is used to help mitigate disturbance of management activities during the sensitive incubation and chick-rearing periods.  We are also embarking on a collaborative effort, which includes at least 15 organizations and agencies across 8 states, to simultaneously assess and monitor Short-eared Owl populations across much of the northwest U.S.

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