eWestern Birds

The Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists

Vol. 41, No. 3
September 2010
Western Field Ornithologists

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Winter Movements by California Spotted Owls in a Burned Landscape
Monica L. Bond, Derek E. Lee, and Rodney B. Siegel

ABSTRACT: The movements and habitat requirements of the California Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis occidentalis) during the nonbreeding season remain poorly understood in comparison with those during the breeding season, and no data are available on the subspecies’ use of burned landscapes in fall and winter. From October 2006 to March 2007, we estimated the locations of daytime roosts of five radio-marked California Spotted Owls in an area of the southern Sierra Nevada that burned in a 60,985-ha wildfire 4 years previously. Our objectives were to determine whether these owls expanded their movements during the nonbreeding season and whether they roosted in the area burned. During the nonbreeding season, two males increased the distance between locations of successive roosts while still remaining within their breeding-season ranges. One pair migrated from its breeding territory for the winter but returned by 1 March. One female dispersed to a new breeding territory. Three of the five owls roosted in burned landscapes during the nonbreeding season, and 30% of all roost locations were within the fire’s perimeter. Burned forests may therefore represent important winter habitat for the California Spotted Owl.

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