[CT Birds] The Niche-Switch

Steve Mayo rsdmayo at sbcglobal.net
Sun Apr 25 04:55:30 EDT 2010

Friday I was getting onto the Merritt and glanced up at the patch of trees, wondering if it held "the" Great Horned Owl nest.  I had seen one at this spot (I guess CTBirds norms apply here) occasionally, for years.  Just then, a Red-tailed Hawk flew in.  
That reminded me of Julio de la Torre's excellent 1990 book on Owls.  He paired up the nocturnal and diurnal raptors, using traits like food, habitat, etc. Some are spot-on, such as RT and Great-horned.  Or, the Swamp Hawk and Swamp Owl; RS and Barred, respectively.  Others were a bit looser, such as American Kestrel and Screech Owl.  
Further down this slippery slope was the pair, Broad-winged hawk and Long-eared Owl.  The former is an extremely secretive, but fairly common resident of our Connecticut deciduous woods.  My question is, where are the breeding Long-eareds?  Why are they not more common as nesters?  I know I've researched this somewhat over the decades but alas, I've forgotten what I've found. 
Any comments?
Steve Mayo

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