Broad expanses of open land with low vegetation for nesting and foraging are required. Habitat types frequently mentioned as suitable include fresh and saltwater marshes, bogs, dunes, prairies, grassy plains, old fields, tundra, moorlands, river valleys, meadows, savanna, open woodland, and heathland (Dement’ev et al. 1951, Clark 1975, Mikkola 1983, Holt and Melvin 1986). In general, any area that is large enough, has low vegetation with some dry upland for nesting, and that supports suitable prey may be considered potential breeding habitat, although many will not have breeding Short-eared Owls. Nests on ground, generally in slight depression (Terres 1980), often beside or beneath a bush or clump of grass. Many nests are near water but are generally on dry sites.
Clark, R. J. 1975. A field study of the short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) Pontoppidan in North America. Wildlife Monographs 47:1-67.
Dement’ev, G.P., N.A. Gladkov, and E.P. Spangenber. 1951. Birds of the Soviet Union. Israel Prog. for Sci. Translations, Russian translation, Jerusalem, Israel.
Holt, D.W., and S.M. Melvin. 1986. Population dynamics, habitat use, and management needs of the short-eared owl in Massachusetts: summary of 1985 research. Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife, Natural Heritage Program, Boston, Massachusetts.
Mikkola, H. 1983. Owls of Europe. Buteo Books, Vermillion, SD.
Terres, J. K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY.