ABOUT SHORT-EARED OWLS
While it's easy to associate owls with forests and tree top nests, the Short-eared Owl finds its home in an entirely different kind of habitat. Short-eared Owls breed in northern climates and, like the Snowy Owl, are even happy making nests on the frigid Arctic tundra. Some of these owls live year-round in the northern US states, while others migrate to the southern tips of the country during the winter months. As with most owl species, migration is not a one-size fits all event.
Most notably, however, the Short-eared Owl is associated with the grasslands and rangelands where it nests and roosts on the ground. Although most of their tundra habitats appear intact, other open-country habitats have been lost, fragmented, or converted for other use. Consequently, Short-eared Owl populations appear to be in significant decline throughout North America. Partners in Flight estimates Short-eared Owl populations to be in a 65% decline since 1970.
Our current research on Short-eared Owls seeks to understand the vulnerabilities and threats to this species, its habitat, and its future. From here we can help influence effective remediation efforts.
© KURT LINDSAY
© DEB HANSEN
ABOUT YOUR SYMBOLIC ADOPTION
Your Short-eared Owl 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 Short-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 Short-eared Owl study.
Your adoption helps cover these necessary costs and ensure that our study continues - working to protect this species in need.
HOW SHORT-EARED OWL ADOPTION WORKS
As a non-profit, we designed our adoption program to help fund research and conservation around specific species. Follow-up information about our Short-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 symbolic adoption program is a new and unique way to donate to the Owl Research Institute and ensure that research on Short-eared Owls continues.
© KURT LINDSAY
ORI'S SHORT-EARED OWL RESEARCH
The ORI has been studying the Short-eared Owl in various capacities since 1985, and our current research has focused on survey protocols, breeding ecology, and movement in western Montana. We continue to work with
private landowners and land managers to provide information about the locations and timing of Short-eared Owl nests. This information is used to help mitigate disturbance of management activities during the sensitive incubation and chick-rearing periods.
We are embarking on a 3-year collaborative study to monitor Short-eared Owl populations in the western U.S. This study, “Predicting Responses of Short-eared Owl Population Size, Distribution, and Habitat Use in a Changing Climate,” involves 15 other agencies and organizations across 8 states. The Owl Research Institute will act as the state coordinator for Montana.
This project, funded by a state wildlife grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a rare example of cooperation and collaboration on a large scale. This species-specific monitoring program will provide the most robust population data for Short-eared Owls in western states to date.
The methods used for this large-scale monitoring study stem directly from a paper we published in 2016 titled, “Using Roadside Surveys to Detect Short-Eared Owls: A Comparison of Visual and Audio Techniques.” These methods have been used for several years in Idaho and Utah with promising results.
The effort aims to complete a number of coordinated surveys across California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The survey design is well-suited to volunteer participation and will rely primarily on volunteer, citizen-scientists to collect data.
© KURT LINDSAY