Museum Minute: Amelia The Short Eared Owl

Nov 25, 2020

Amelia The Short Eared owl
Credit Draper Natural History Museum

The Draper Museum Raptor Experience will be 10 years old in 2021. In honor, we are featuring the 11 raptors in the program.

Amelia is a short eared owl. Unlike most other owls, short eared owls are active in the middle of the day.

“She's a lot of fun to have in our programs just to confuse people and say, ‘Hey, actually, there are exceptions in nature,’” said Mellissa Hill, the live raptor program manager. 

Another unique thing about these small owls is that they nest on the ground versus up in the trees. Hill said this means they don’t have to compete with other animals that might like to eat them. But they are still very vulnerable on the ground. 

“They're lucky to live around three to four years tops,” said Hill. “Whereas a great horned owl would live around 15 to 18 years up in the trees.”

But she said to offset predation, the owls lay up to as many as 14 eggs every single spring. They hope the more offspring, the better chance of them surviving.