Celebrating Owl Research on International Owl Awareness Day

Post provided by LEANNE HEISLER

snowy-owl-981653_640Today, on International Owl Awareness Day (August 4), we celebrate the research we have done to better understand owls and their prey. There are over 200 extant species of owls, a handful of which have geographic distributions spanning several continents (i.e., barn owl, snowy owl, short-eared owl, long-eared owl). So no matter where you are in the world you’re probably not too far away from an owl.

Ecologists and paleontologists have taken advantage of this to study owls and their prey. One of the most widely used methods for this is collecting and dissecting owl pellets. We discuss some of the major benefits of studying owl pellets in our recent Methods in Ecology and Evolution Review article ‘Owl pellets: a more effective alternative to conventional trapping for broad-scale studies of small mammal communities’. Continue reading

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The Smart Nest Box: Stepping into the World of Cavity-Dwelling Animals

Post provided by MARKÉTA ZÁRYBNICKÁ

The SNBox in the field

The SNBox in the field

Seeing is better than being told, isn’t it? In recent years, video recording and analysis has become a successful non-invasive method for collecting biological data on many species. At Project Smart Nestbox (a collaborative project between the Czech University of Life Science Prague and the Czech Technical University in Prague) we decided to push these methods forward to allow for the long term surveillance of cavity or box-nesting species. We developed and tested the Smart Nest Box (SNBox) – a system that overcomes some of the usual limitations found in video recording fieldwork: data storage capacity, power source and insufficient light. As it’s National Nest Box Week in the UK, Methods in Ecology and Evolution have asked me to write a blog post about it. Continue reading