Habitat Prevalence of Migrating Northern Saw-whet Owls in Delaware and Henry Counties, Indiana: Preliminary Results

Kaitlin Gavenda Ball State University, Clayton Delancey Ball State University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Kamal Islam Ball State University
This study aims to test if Northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) exhibit a preference between two potential habitat types in Indiana, an old growth deciduous forest and a Christmas tree farm, during migration. Previous studies have documented the use of old growth deciduous forest. Christmas tree farms contain the coniferous trees preferred by these owls; however, it is an artificial environment that may not contain the cover that Northern Saw-whet Owls favor. This study will examine if there are any differences in capture rates between these two habitat types based on season, and if males and females have different preferences in the type of habitats that they select. Two mist-netting stations have been established to monitor fall and spring migration periods: one at Ginn Woods (Ball State University property) in Delaware County, and the other at Whitetail Tree Farm in Henry County. Each station uses six mist-nets: a line of four nets, with one net on either side of the middle to form a cross. A recording of a Northern Saw-whet Owl call is played at the center of the cross to increase owl capture rates. During the 2017 fall migration period, we caught 10 owls at Ginn Woods, and 8 owls at Whitetail Tree farm, and only one was a definitive male. Of these owls, 9 were hatch year, 5 were second year, and 4 were after second year. Preliminary analysis of spring migration captures will also be included.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

09:30 AM
Gallahue Hall 102