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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

 

Geolocators on Burrowing Owls Reveal Interesting Wintering Trends

Region 1, January 4, 2013
The map shows wintering locations of birds that returned last year to the sites in Washington state, and data from an owl marked in Saskatchewan.  Females all migrate to CA, whereas the majority of males are likely to stick around through the winter.
The map shows wintering locations of birds that returned last year to the sites in Washington state, and data from an owl marked in Saskatchewan. Females all migrate to CA, whereas the majority of males are likely to stick around through the winter. - Photo Credit: n/a

An project update from Mike Green in our Migratory Birds program:

 

David Johnson (Global Owl Project) is working with Mike Gregg (FWS) & others to understand wintering areas and stop-over sites of Burrowing Owls, using geolocators. (Geolocators detect sunrise and sunset times, and so provide info on longitude and latitude, but the birds must be re-caught for data download.) The attached map shows wintering locations of birds that returned last year to the Umatilla Chem. Weapons Depot, Hanford, and another site in e. WA, and data from an owl marked in Saskatchewan. Females from e. WA all migrate to CA, whereas the majority of males are likely to stick around through the winter. Who knew? David and Mike have more birds marked for this winter and will be extending that work with Courtney Conway across the west through 2014.

David Johnson and I are working with others to find out the same information on Flammulated Owls, and we have 25 birds marked right now. We think they'll all winter in MX, but finding out where exactly will be helpful for their conservation. We'll be able to recapture many of those birds this summer and produce a similar map for Flammies, hopefully.

Contact Info: Amanda Fortin, (503) 872-2852, amanda_fortin@fws.gov