"Once Common: Short-eared Owl" (2021)
Fifty years ago, in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, I often saw the short-eared owls in small groups in the winter, sitting on old hay bails in the fields. There has been a steep decline since. Large portions of the grasslands have become nut orchards and vineyards, affecting their ability to hunt. Little of the marshland, where they nested, was left untouched. In 2007, Diamond Hill Wetlands near Brownsville began as a “restoration" of 350 acres of native prairie, 130 acres of marsh, and 100 acres of riparian forest. Its purpose is to provide suitable habitat for this owl and other birds. This painting is the result of some recent visits and to show what I saw on one special evening.