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Use the following links to learn more about Long-eared Owls and download your adoption documents!



Long-eared Owls tend to fly under the radar, not garnering the attention of their larger and more vocal doppelganger, the Great Horned Owl. Yet these quiet, communally oriented owls need our help - population data estimates their population at a 91% decline, more than any other North American owl species. 


Fortunately, the Owl Research Institute is in a good position to help. We conduct the longest running study in North America, and probably the world, on Long-eared Owls. This data is used to better understand the species - its strengths and vulnerabilities; as well as influence land management decisions to help preserve critical habitat. 


At the Owl Research Institute, we hold a special fondness for Long-eared Owls; after all, as our very first species of study, the Owl Research Institute has grown-up around Long-eared Owls. They have taught us so much about owls, the natural world, and research. And while we will always be in awe of these special raptors, they need our help and protection more than ever. 




Your Long-eared Owl symbolic adoption helps ensure that our research on these owls continues. At the Owl Research Institute, we know that conservation efforts begin with reliable data. We provide this data and work hard to ensure that it gets to the right decision makers.


Our Long-eared Owl study is conducted out of many different study sites in western Montana. Travel to and from our sites, equipment, manpower, and data management are all costs associated with the Long-eared Owl study.

Your adoption helps cover these necessary costs and ensure that our study, now in its 32nd year, continues - working to protect this species in need.


As a non-profit, we designed our adoption program to help fund research and conservation around specific species. Follow-up information about our Long-eared Owl research can be found in our annual newsletter, The Roost, which comes out annually between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you would like to receive a copy, let us know HERE >>.


All of our research is conducted on wild owls in their natural habitat. We keep no owls at the Owl Research Institute and are not a rehabilitation center. We are a field-based research institute with an emphasis on conservation and education.


We are enormously grateful to those who make the decision to support our work. The adoption program is a  new and unique way to donate to the Owl Research Institute and ensure that research on your favorite species continues on.



The Owl Research Institute’s Long-eared Owl study began in western Montana in 1987.  Our initial research question was to determine if communal roosts of Long-eared Owls were comprised of family groups, other related individuals, or non-related individuals.

Long-eared Owls are one of only a few species of owls in the world that aggregate during the non-breeding season to form communal roosts. In Montana, this is usually during autumn and winter.  At times, they nest near these roost sites – but do not fit the definition of colonial nesters. Our study has shown that winter communal groups of these owls rarely comprise members of the same family.

Since the study began, a host of other questions arose, as happens in most studies.  These were simple research questions such as: clutch size, hatching success, fledging success, food habits, nest-site characteristics, winter roost-site characteristics, molt, migration, as well as DNA and other molecular study queries. We achieved many of our objectives and answered several original questions.

We developed a quantitative technique to discern plumage color differences between males and females. We defined long-term mating systems and determined that the owls were seasonally monogamous, but life-long polygamous.  We also quantified stress hormones, which allowed us to evaluate our research impact on these owls.

Overall, however, we are most proud of our long-term data on our local populations. Sadly, our data documents a population in decline, in-line with national estimates. To date, we cannot definitively say what factors are influencing this decline but are presently trying to generate interest from other states and groups to conduct more widespread monitoring for this species. 

Our Long-eared Owl study, now in its 32nd year, remains active, our sample size continually expanding. To date, we have banded over 1,900 individuals and found over 225 nests. Additionally, we have partnered with to bring live coverage of Long-eared owls nests and communal roost sites to the world. 24/7 Live Cam coverage can be seen HERE >>. The 2018 breeding season did not produce a successful nest but we are hopeful for next year.


The Owl Research is a 501(c)3 tax exempt non-profit and runs entirely on donations. Every dollar helps. Your charitable gift keeps our research and conservation efforts going - we thank you for your support! Learn more about Long-eared Owls with the links below:


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