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North America’s long-eared owl spotted in Tamil Nadu, Indian bird watchers thrilled

Representational image. Long-eared owl which are found in North America and Eurasia may have landed in southern India to change in climate experts feel (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@MBnewcastle)

There was a buzz among the bird lovers in India especially Tamil Nadu, as for the first time a long-eared owl was spotted in the southern part of the country.

This bird was spotted by N. Kanan, a birder in Kothagiri Hills – the oldest and the third largest hill stations in the Nilgiris – where he had gone for excursion.

Talking to the media, Kanan said he saw the bird flying on the Kothagiri-Yabbanadu road. Initially he thought it was a brown wood owl but on observing it carefully he found it to be a long-eared owl.

Interestingly, the long-eared owl is a northern hemisphere nocturnal bird and is usually found across North America and Eurasia. It lives in dense forests like coniferous and hunts for small prey in the grasslands. In the past some isolated groups of these birds had been seen in East and North Africa.

In India there are 34 species of owl and the short-eared owl which is found in north India does migrate to south but the long-eared owls have not been recorded before.

As per experts, changing climatic patterns have forced many migrating birds to change their migration flyways. They believe this could be the cause of the presence of a long-eared owl in India.