British Owls - 11 May 2018
Royal Mail issued a set of 10 stamps depicting owls, five adult and five juveniles.
Stamp: 1st class Long-eared Owl Asio otus
Card: Cornish Birds of Prey Centre
Postmark: First day of issue, Hooton
Long-eared Owl - Asio otus
This beautiful, slim, orange-eyed owl is named after its large, cat-like ear tufts, which help to break up its outline as it roosts by day. In the UK it breeds mainly in upland pine forests, but in Ireland (where it does not face competition from Tawny Owls) it is more common and lives in a wider range of habitats. Though the Long-eared Owl nests in woodland, often in the old nest of another bird, it prefers to hunt on adjacent open countryside. Its prey mainly comprises small rodents, which it catches either by pouncing from a perch or by searching in flight.
The waiting chicks beg with a distinctive squeaky-gate call. Long-eared Owls disperse widely in winter, with residents joined by visitors from the Continent, and form winter roosts (which may hold ten or more birds) in thick scrubland.