eWestern Birds

The Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists

Vol. 45, No. 4
December 2014
Western Field Ornithologists


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Documenting Western Burrowing Owl Reproduction and Activity Patterns with Motion-Activated Cameras
Derek B. Hall and Paul D. Greger

ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT: We used motion-activated cameras to monitor the reproduction and patterns of activity of the Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) above ground at 45 burrows in south-central Nevada during the breeding seasons of 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2005. The 37 broods, encompassing 180 young, raised over the four years represented an average of 4.9 young per successful breeding pair. Young and adult owls were detected at the burrow entrance at all times of the day and night, but adults were detected more frequently during afternoon/early evening than were young. Motion-activated cameras require less effort to implement than other techniques. Limitations include photographing only a small percentage of owl activity at the burrow; not detecting the actual number of eggs, young, or number fledged; and not being able to track individual owls over time. Further work is also necessary to compare the accuracy of productivity estimates generated from motion-activated cameras with other techniques.

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