Short-eared Owls are found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica, making them among the most widely distributed birds in the world.
Populations are declining in some areas in the United States. Barn Owls may be out-competing Short-eared Owls in some locations.
They actively hunt through day and night. By using a low slow flight over the ground, they hunt small mammals such as voles, shrews, moles, rabbits, and occasionally birds. Prey often is swallowed whole.
The nest is a scraped-out depression on the ground that is lined with grass and feathers. The female lays 4-7 eggs that are incubated 24-29 days. The young leave the nest at 14-18 days and fledge when they are 24-27 days old. The fledglings may form a social group and roost together during the day. These owls are able to reproduce in their first year.