CONSERVATION FOCUS: SHORT-EARED OWLS
© KURT LINDSAY
Collaborative Short-Eared Owl Monitoring Project
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.