Short-eared owl bits
In January when we went to Snettisham in Norfolk, we found a dead short-eared owl washed up on the beach. We took it back home and we’ve managed to save both the wings, the feet and the skull. The skull is wider than a crow’s but not as long, as the beak is not as long, but hooked over instead. The wingspan of this owl was around 100cm, as each wing was about 47cm. This is the 5th commonest breeding species of owl in the UK, at up to 2000 pairs. They are one of the two species of moorland owl in Britain, along with the barn. They are also diurnal like little owls. What you’ll notice if you have an owl wing is that on the end feather of each wing, there are loads of tiny barbs. This must aid the owl’s ability to fly silently.
If you want to start you’re own wing collection, here are some instructions:
- Find a dead bird and take it home.
- Find some scissors (preferably for birds no bigger than a thrush) or seceteurs (preferably for birds like crows or birds of prey, if you are lucky enough to find those) and take the wings off the bird (both of them if one’s not too manky or broken).
- Find some cardboard and masking tape. Stretch the wings out and pin them onto the cardboard into the position you want them to be at.
- Sprinkle some cornmeal onto the meaty ends of the wings.
- Take the tape off the wings after about a month (if they’re off a large bird) carefully and spray them with flea spray so they don’t get eaten by mites.