The owls are late, the winter will not be cold

Sonya Machorska

For the fifth consecutive year, eared forest owls chose Vidin to hibernate. They arrived three weeks after their usual time. Linden, birch and catalpa trees are among the preferred birds of the night birds. Years ago, they arrived in the city in early November, last – the first week of December. They may again herald a milder winter.

The long-eared owl is a medium-sized owl, 31–40 cm (12–16 in) in length with an 86–100 cm (34–39 in) wingspan and a body mass of 178–435 g (6.3–15.3 oz).This nocturnal species is perhaps most easily seen perched in a tree in its daytime roost, sometimes in small groups during the winter months. Overall, these owls are secretive, and are rarely seen.

It nests in trees, often coniferous, using the old stick nests of other birds such as crows, ravens and magpies and various hawks. The average clutch size is 4–6 eggs, and the incubation time averages from 25–30 days. It will readily use artificial nesting baskets. An unusual characteristic of this species is its communal roosting in thickets during the winter months. The young have a characteristic call, likened to a rusty hinge.

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