Seen close up like this the long-eared owl is a beautiful bird, a bit like a miniature eagle owl. It has similar plumage and ear tufts and the same orange eyes of a dusk and dawn hunter. The ear tufts, of course, are nothing of the sort.
Because the long-eared owl (Asio otus) is rare there are no population trends available. Its geographical distribution favours northern and eastern parts of the UK.
In Thomas Bewick's time the long-eared owl was common bird. He wrote "This bird is common in various parts of Europe, as well as in this country; its usual haunts are in old ruined buildings, in rocks, and in hollow trees.". This is his engraving from A History of British Birds published in 1797.
The long-eared owl is also found in North America. This illustration is by John James Audubon in Birds of America, one of 435 watercolours published between 1827 and 1838.