Photograph taken by Mike White, a trail guide, on October 26, 2002. Mike was leading the Last Saturday of the Month Guided Nature Walk that day (wish I could have been there). Long-eared owls are very rare in Tulare County, in fact this is the first sighting of this species at Kaweah Oaks Preserve.
Long-eared owls are slender and only 15" in height. The ear tufts are long and more closely set than those on the Great Horned Owl. The Long-eared Owl has rufous (rusty-reddish) facial disks with yellow eyes. The Great Horned Owls are half again as tall being 22" in height, broad in body with a white throat.
Long-eared owls prey upon small creatures like voles, mice, lizards and insects. They prefer a wooded area near open fields, meadows or marshes. These owls can stretch their slender bodies to camophlage themselves during the day. They look surprising like a stump of a broken tree limb.
Sibley Guide to Birds (pg 272) mentions the wingbeats during display flights produce a crackling sound, like that of a whip.
According to Stokes Field Guide To Birds Western Region, page 243, Long-eared Owls are decreasing in population and cautions against excessive harassment by avid bird watchers.