The BTO is launching a project to expand their knowledge of our various Owl species, starting with the Tawny Owl. This project will build connections with local groups to survey their local breeding population to see how the owls are faring. The BTO will also provide volunteer ringers with new skills to monitor owls, such as tagging technologies.
The project will be designed so that as many people as possible can take part and will look at the annual breeding success of the owls and advance our knowledge of how Tawny Owls use their foraging areas and what aspects of their surroundings are most important.
More details will be published later this year as the idea is to start the monitoring in the autumn and winter of 2018/2019 mainly to understand more about their calling behaviour, and the habitats where they are calling from. Running alongside this, volunteers will be asked to make 2-4 visits to pre-selected survey squares to secure a revised national estimate of Tawny Owl breeding populations.
Groups that survey Barn Owls and Little Owls will also be involved, and in subsequent years, the surveys will include Short eared and Long eared Owls.
So for now if you hear Tawny owls calling, try and understand if it’s just a male on territory (a hooting call) or whether there is a female calling as well (a “twick” note), and subsequently if you know of a nest site, or you know of a regular site where Little Owls are present, please record the details and location information. This will enable us to really contribute to the project when it kicks off in earnest later this year.
If you have any information please start send it to Hugh Pulsford, the Cheshire and Wirral County Bird Recorder, by using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org or by providing the information to any of the Macclesfield RSPB Local Group committee members.