Citizen Scientists Needed for Short-eared Owl Surveys

By eBird Northwest Team January 22, 2018
Short-eared Owl (c) Jim Livaudias (72 ppi 2x3) (1)

Short-eared Owl (c) Jim Livaudias 2018

The Western Asio Flammeus Landscape Study (WAfLS) is currently seeking volunteers to help complete an eight-state citizen science project designed to gather information to better evaluate the population status of the Short-eared Owl. Such information is needed by conservation practitioners who want to design management actions to help reverse the Short-eared Owl population decline. The Short-eared Owl has been listed in many western States as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need and the National Audubon Society Climate Initiative has identified the species as Climate Endangered. These surveys are a critical starting point to fill information gaps for this species. Results will directly influence high-value conservation actions by state and federal agencies.

Volunteers will enjoy rural western landscapes at twilight while completing two road-based surveys during March and April. The surveys consist of driving on secondary roads, stopping at 8 to 11 points to complete a five-minute survey. At each point, volunteers will record detections of Short-eared Owl as well as some brief habitat information. The entire survey is completed within 90 minutes. Training material will be provided and no experience is necessary to volunteer. Participants will need to follow field and data entry protocols, have use of a vehicle, smartphone or GPS device, and be able to identify a Short-eared Owl.

Help fill these information gaps by signing-up for a survey in your state! Visit the project website for more details including the protocol, past year’s reports and publications and how to sign-up. For any questions contact your state coordinator.