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Citation. Christenson, G.; Fuller, M. R. 1975. Food habits of two long-eared owl families in east-central Minnesota. The Loon 47:58-61. [1266 CC]
Abstract. The Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) is widely distributed in North America, but as Nicholls (1962) described, these owls are quite nocturnal, spending the day well hidden in dense cover. For this reason the Long-earge Owl is seldom seen, but may be common in areas where its presence is not suspected. The woodlots sought by the owls for cover and nesting habitat are usually adjacent to fields and pastures where the owls hunt during the night (Getz, 1961). Studies of the Long-eared Owls' food habits in Michigan (Wilson, 1938; Warthin and Van Tyne, 1922; Spiker, 1933; Armstrong, 1958; Craighead and Craighead, 1969), Wisconsin (Errington, 1932; Nicholls, 1962), in east-central Illinois (Cahn and Kemp, 1930) and Missouri (Korschgen and Stuart, 1972) have shown that 80-90% of the diet consists of small mammal species which are often agricultural pests. The economic importance of these owls is stressed because of the benefical effects of their predation on rodents, while only a very small percentage of their prey consists of game animals and birds. The purpose of this study was to analyze pellet contents and evaluate the relative economic importance of feeding habits of Long-eared Owls during the late spring and early summer in east-central Minnesota.
Keywords. long-eared owl, Asio otus, feeding habits, pellet contents