Short-eared Owl Flight Profiles: grouped by wing-position
Several things stand out when one watches Short-eared Owls flying around or feeding.
Gee-Bee Model R.That plane had a huge flat round engine with many cylinders in a circular array, giving the front of the plane a large diameter and flat-fronted look with a short body behind it, much like our Owl. That plane had very short wings though, and that is quite the opposite of what one finds with Short-eared Owls.
|WINGS on the DOWN-BEAT||On the downward stroke of the wingbeat, the wings either each remain nearly stiff and straight, or else they bend very sharply a short distance from the body. The downward stroke also goes quite far, sometimes even to the point where the wings clap together, resulting in the "wing-clapping" sound sometimes heard. Wing-clapping is part of courtship displays, but I've seen and heard Wintering Owls do it sometimes in the proximity of other SEOW flying nearby.|
|WINGS on the UP-BEAT||On the upswing, the wings tend to remain almost stiff and straight, with only a slight bend a short distance from the body. The bend goes away when the Owl glides or when it begins to hover or dive. Otherwise, while flying, the wings most often appear to make a very deep V-shape. This is especially visible in the first three photos below|
|WINGS FLAT||Even when their wings are flat, such as in a glide, these Owls have a quite distinctive appearance. I love the way they hold their wings slightly below them In the first three photos below. This "pose" is one of the few times that the wings may appear to be pointed. You can see in the rest of this group of photos that the wings appear to be very broad out towards the ends, and they only rarely look pointed, but rather the ends usually appear to be very rounded|
|SIDE VIEW PROFILE||More than in any other view, the flat fronted face of these Owl shows up clearly in a side-profile view. The absence of any neck contributes to making the head look especially large compared to the body of the bird. The shortness of the tail is also more obvious, as is its somewhat square shape.|
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