Subject: Owl Conservation & Research News -- 1 July 2020

Owl Conservation & Research News
A summary of recent owl publications, conservation and conference news.
Sample World Owl Conference shirts have arrived!

In order make sure our conference logo would reproduce well digitally printed on shirts we ordered samples, which Hein and Karla Bloem are happily modeling in the photo. You'll be able to order a hoodie or a T-shirt when you register, and we will likely have some available for sale at the conference. The logo features Bubo virginianus subarcticus, the palest Great Horned Owl subspecies. The owl photo in our logo was taken by Jeff Grotte and is used with his permission.

The World Owl Conference website is now live. Watch as details develop.
Owl Conservation and Research News*
*citation styles vary according to source of abstract articles
Gómez-Ramírez, P., Pérez-García, J. M., León-Ortega, M., Martínez, J. E., Calvo, J. F., Sánchez-Zapata, J. A., Botella, F., María-Mojica, P., Martínez-López, E., García-Fernández, A. J. (2019). Spatiotemporal variations of organochlorine pesticides in an apex predator: Influence of government regulations and farming practices. Environmental Research, 176(May), 108543.
Intensive agriculture, with high use of pesticides and fertilizers, causes negative effects on living beings and the environment. This study evaluates the levels of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in a sentinel species in relation to changes in European regulations and the spatial configuration of agricultural practices around the nests. For this, 256 Eurasian Eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) chicks born in an area of intensive commercial agriculture with historical frequent use of pesticides, in South-eastern Spain, were sampled during the period 2003-2007 to analyse OCP levels in blood. Year-to-year variations in OCP concentrations and their relation with land use configuration around raptor nests were studied. We found that all the nestlings born in 2003 and 2004 had OCPs in blood, while concentrations dropped to 27% in 2005, 6.8% in 2006 and 6.3% in 2007, coinciding with the European ban of use of OCPs. According to Generalized Linear Mixed Models, the presence of the main OCPs was related to agricultural practices. In particular, endosulfan and lindane were related to irrigated crops and urban areas, while DDT-related compounds and dieldrin were associated with dry land farming. Thus, we can confirm that Eurasian Eagle-owl was a good sentinel species as it allowed a rapid detection of changes in pesticides use.
Click here for full-text article.
Tulis, F., Ševčík, M. and Obuch, J., 2019. Long-eared owls roosted in the forest, still hunted in open land. Raptor Journal, 13: 105–119. DOI: 10.2478/srj­2019­0003
Aggregation to communal winter roosts is a typical phenomenon for long-eared owls (Asio otus) during the non­breeding season. Most published information deals with winter roosts situated within human settlements or winter roosts located in rural zones such as windbreaks and bushes
within agricultural land or forest edges. Studies that deal with winter roosts located deeper inside
the compact forest can be found only rarely and data about the diet of long-eared owls wintering
in this kind of roosts are also lacking.
We compared to the diet at winter roosts in human settlements, with the diet of the long­-eared
owls roosting in the forest. Surprisingly, owls roosting in the forest significantly more frequently hunted the common vole (Microtus arvalis). Moreover, we did not record higher consumption
of forest mammal species in the diet of owls at forest winter roosts. Owls roosting in human
settlements hunted significantly more birds. The results show that, despite the location of deep forest winter roosts, long­-eared owls preferred hunting the common vole, i.e. hunting in open agricultural land.

Click here to download the full text article»
Allen, M.L., M.P. Ward, D. Južnič, and M. Krofel. 2019. Scavenging by owls: a global review and new observations from Europe and North America. Journal of Raptor Research 53:410–418.
Scavenging is used by individuals to increase fitness and is important ecologically to transfer energy between trophic levels. Scavenging by owls has been documented opportunistically over the last few decades, but it is unknown how widespread the behavior is. We documented three new scavenging events, two from North America (by a Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus, and a Barred Owl, Strix varia), and one from Europe (by a Ural Owl Strix uralensis). We also performed a systematic literature review of scavenging by owls. The number of reports were generally consistent each decade, until increasing greatly in the 2010s. Owls were primarily documented scavenging upon mammals (81%), and almost half (47%) of the animal carcasses scavenged by owls were from the order Artiodactyla (hooved mammals). Most (80%) of reports documenting scavenging by owls were from either Europe or North America. Reports were most frequently direct observations (n = 14), followed by camera trapping (n = 9). Our review found that scavenging by owls is widespread, but most observations were opportunistic. This suggests that many incidents of scavenging by owls are likely unobserved and unreported. Further research is needed to understand the effects that scavenging may have on owl populations and scavenging communities.
Click here for full text article»
Siva, T., Neelanarayanan, P. and Vasudeva Rao, V. 2019. Food Composition of Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis Franklin (Aves: Strigiformes: Strigidae) from Tiruchirappalli District, Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 11(5): 13545 – 13551. ISSN no. 0974-7907. DOI: 10.11609/jott.4416.11.5.13545-13551.
Food intake of Indian Eagle Owls (Bubo bengalensis Franklin 1831) was studied between April 2017 and September 2017 in a part of Tiruchirappalli District, Tamil Nadu, India. 1,082 regurgitated pellets were collected from the roosting and nesting sites and their analysis provided 2,077 prey components. The estimated average prey individuals per pellet was 1.91. The observed prey composition was to the tune of 65% rodents and 35% other prey including invertebrates and non-rodent vertebrates. Of the rodents, Millardia meltada, Bandicota bengalensis, Mus booduga, Tatera indica, Bandicota indica, Rattus rattus, Funambulus palmarum and unidentified rodents accounted for 31.15%. 12.95%, 10.25%, 1.82%, 0.52%, 0.096%, 0.24% and 8.08%, respectively. The remaining 35% of non-rodent prey consisted of Rhinoceros beetles (9.58%), Galeodes indicus (9.58%), scorpion (0.77%), amphibians (3.56%), Calotes species (3.7%), other reptiles (2.35%), birds (2.26%), Suncus murinus (2.84%) and bats (0.19%). The results suggest that Indian Eagle owls consume rodent pests (65%) and insect pests (Rhinoceros beetles - 9.58%) of agricultural importance.
Click here for full text article»
Siva, T. and Neelanarayanan, P. 2018. Prey Composition of Mottled Wood owl Strix ocellata Lesson, 1839 in Tiruchirappalli District, Tamil Nadu, India. Research Journal of Life Sciences, Bioinformatics, Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences. Vol. 4(5): 231 -239. ISSN no. 2454 – 6348. DOI:10.26479/2018.0405.18.
The diet of Mottled Wood Owl was studied from September 2016 to August 2017 in Tiruchirappalli District, Tamil Nadu, India. 158 pellets were collected from the roosting sites and by analyzing them 254 individual prey were identified. Of them, 42 belonged to rodents and the remaining 212 represented both invertebrates (Insects, Scorpions) and other vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals). In terms of proportion, the food constituted 83.46% (both invertebrates and vertebrates) and 16.54% (rodents). The composition of rodent pests was to the tune of 8.27% for Millardia meltada, 1.18% for Bandicota bengalensis, 1.57% for Mus booduga, 0.40% for Tatera indica, 0.79% for Rattus rattus and 4.33% for unidentified rodents. The other prey were observed to be Insects (30.7%), Calotes sp., (25.6%), Birds (19.3%), Suncus murinus (2.75%), Amphibians (1.96%), Scorpions (1.96%) and Bats (1.18%). The results indicate that the bird may be regarded as an opportunistic predator.
Click here for full text article»
Select owl research articles from the German A.G. Eulenschutz Kauzbrief
Click here for the list of articles
This web page is in German, but if you have Google Translate installed on your browser you can have the web page, including the paper titles, translated into other languages. The pdfs are in German, and some include English summaries. Each paper includes an email address for the corresponding author.
Seeking nominations for the World Owl Hall of Fame Awards

Each year the World Owl Hall of Fame presents awards to people (and sometimes owls) who have done exceptional work to make the world a better place for owls. 

The Champion of Owls award is for a lifetime of work (20 years minimum) impacting multiple parts of at least one continent, in multiple fields (such as research AND conservation, for example). 

The Special Achievement Award is for significant work in a single field, a specific project, or in a smaller region. 

The Lady Gray'l Award is for owls who have made a significant impact as an individual in multiple fields (such as education AND research, for example). 

To be selected as a winner, the nominee must stand head and shoulders above others in their field. A panel of owl experts from four continents with varied backgrounds judge the nominations. Awards are presented at the International Festival of Owls in Houston, Minnesota, USA during the International Festival of Owls the first weekend in March.

Nominations are due 31 August 2020. Start working on forms early, as it takes time to collect all necessary data to make a for a solid nomination. 

Read more about the awards, criteria, past winners, and download nomination forms on the International Festival of Owls website.
Submit your recent owl publications

To submit a research summary for inclusion in this e-newsletter, please send an email to that includes:

-Proper citation for the article (published in the last 12 months; publication need not be in English, but please translate the title into English if it is not already)
-Short English summary of the research (250 words or less) that includes basic results (similar to an abstract, but not the actual abstract so we avoid any copyright infringement)
-Link to the full-text article if it is available online
-Email address for the corresponding author

-A photo related to the article, if available (it could be of an owl, researcher, location--something to grab attention)

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