RESEARCH FOCUS: BOREAL OWLS

BOREAL OWL RESEARCH PROJECT

Venturing into the mountains in search of Boreal Owls is often a practice in misadventure. For 22 years we’ve persisted through any number of trials, from snowmobiles breaking down miles from the parking area, flat tires and stuck rigs, snowstorms, thunderstorms, injury, and a lot more.  For all that hard work we’ve been rewarded with 43 nests of Boreal Owls.  Because these nests are all located in nest boxes we’ve been able to monitoring egg laying, incubation, growth rates, plumage development, diet, and mating systems.  Although interesting, we have concerns that our data might not reflect natural distribution or other aspects of the biology, due to the artificial establishment of nest boxes. However, our records of site fidelity and natal dispersal, though rare, are important to understanding the life history of Boreal Owls. 


We have not found any owls using checked boxes on the Flathead Indian Reservation The Boreal Owl is listed as “Sensitive” by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Wildlife Management Program (D. Becker, pers. comm.).