‘Long-Eared Owls’ suddenly appeared in Chicago winter.

Photo: Piotr Krzeslak/Shutterstock
Long-eared owls don’t actually have long ears.
They’re named after tall, feathery tufts on their heads that look like ears. Their real ones are hidden under facial feathers, and for many North American long-eared owls, those ears must have been burning lately.
Normally secretive birds, long-eared owls have become a sensation this winter around Chicago, where they’ve dazzled people by suddenly appearing in unusually large numbers.
This is known as an irruption, the technical name for any abrupt surge in a bird population, especially outside its typical haunts.
It’s unclear where exactly all these long-eared owls came from, but the species is known to breed across a northern swath of the United States from Maine to California, plus much of Canada.
Long-eared owls are native to Eurasia and North Africa as well as North America. They live year-round in many regions, but some also escape the northernmost parts of their breeding range during winter, moving south into (slightly) warmer habitats.
Source: Owl of a sudden, long-eared owls are everywhere | MNN – Mother Nature Network

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