Short-eared Owls occur throughout the non-mountainous regions of Alberta. Reliable sources depict Short-eared Owls occurring throughout the province, however, observation records suggest the northern limit of breeding in Alberta to be Peace River, Lesser Slave Lake, and Cold Lake. The paucity of observations from the northern portion of the province is likely the result of insufficient sampling. Short-eared Owls have been reported nesting in boreal regions north of Edmonton and in boreal and arctic landscapes further north in Alaska and the Northwest Territories. Therefore, it is likely that Short-eared Owls nest, at least irregularly, throughout northern Alberta.
It is difficult to define the wintering distribution of this nomadic species. Short-eared Owls are variably migratory throughout North America with only the northern most populations being consistently migratory. Most range maps depict Alberta as beyond the northern wintering limit for Short-eared Owls. However, there are numerous winter records of this species near Calgary, Edmonton, and Grand Prairie.