A Short-eared owl in the evening hours. Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS Short-Eared Owls (Asio flammeus) are named for their very short, barely visible ear-tufts. The owls inhabit fresh and salt water marshes, grasslands and dunes. Unless you can see in the dark, you are most likely to spot one in the late afternoon, when they begin hunting for the evening. They have one of the largest geographic distributions of any owl in the world; spanning across Eurasia, North and South America into the Caribbean and even Hawaii. Short-eared owls usually lay about 4-7 eggs per clutch and usually stay in monogamous pairs.