RESEARCH FOCUS: NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS

NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL RESEARCH PROJECT

As with Northern Pygmy Owls, the Northern Saw-whet study also began in 1981.  Since that time we’ve located over 55 natural nest-sites and a handful of nests in nest boxes.  We believe this is the largest sample of natural nest sites in North America. Interestingly, we have documented nests from elevations of 3,000’ in cottonwood stands in valley bottoms through 7,000’ in mixed coniferous forests in sub-alpine habitats. The owls appear to be habitat generalist, occurring in all forest types we survey. We are currently in the process of analyzing and writing up our research results, which we believe will have important implications for forest management snag retention policies. 

We also conduct a winter roost-site study and fall migration banding of Northern Saw-whet Owls. The Northern Saw-Whet Owl is listed as a Sensitive Species by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Wildlife Management Program (D. Becker, pers. comm.).