Long-eared Owl chased by a Magpie

A rainy day in May at Romania´s Black Sea coast. Some good birds for a western birdwatcher like Reed, Corn and Black-headed Bunting, Great Reed-Warbler, Barred Warbler and a flying Lesser Spotted Eagle could be seen. A big surprise was what you see on the pictures: a Long-eared Owl, Asio otus, staying in a bush, eventually flying away. After a few seconds a Magpie showed up. Here you can see the Long Eared Owl chased by a Black-billed Magpie in flight. The images were photographed in the nice countryside of Romania north of the city of Constanta.
Basic habitat requirements for the Long-eared Owl are small forests or hedges with some trees. Preferred are open countrysides which nest-sites of Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) or Magpie (Pica pica). It is not clear, why the Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica) chased the owl. It is well reknown that magpies could be very aggressive in defending their nest and/or brood. Probably that has been the case at that situation, although Long-eared Owl feed on Magpies and magpies might steel the eggs and the nestlings of the owls. Consequently a potential for aggressive behavior is given from both sides.
Long Eared Owl belong to the genus Asio. This is a genus of typical owls in the family Strigidae. The genus Asio contains the eared owls, which are characterised by feather tufts on the head which have the appearance of ears. This group has representatives over most of the planet. Most species in this genus nest on the ground, but the Long-eared Owl, Asio otus, nests in the old stick nests of crows, ravens and magpies or/and various hawks.
May is Migration and early breeding time in Romania´s Black Sea coast. Thus it is prime birdwatching time. After having seen many of the speciality birds like Pelicans, Red-necked Grebes, Glossy Ibises, Spoonbills in the Danube Delta, a small group of bird photographers went for this area which is called the Dobrudja.
To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the gallery of range of birds you can find in the western palearctic. Trips to remote places to capture images of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. Part of the images gained are photos of Baillon’s Crake, Heuglin’s Gull and Imperial Eagle. This nice image is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Pictures Shop” very soon. Just give me a message, if I could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.
Other successful shootings you can see under: http://www.bird-lens.com/zencardshop/.

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