Habitat Use of Northern Saw-whet Owls in Delaware and Henry counties, Indiana

Gillian Martin Ball State University, Kaitlin Gavenda Ball State University, Clay Delancey Ball State University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Kamal Islam Ball State University
The Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) is a small North American owl that has been observed to migrate south for the winter. This study compares capture rates between two types of habitats in Indiana, an old-growth deciduous forest (Ginn Woods located in Delaware County) and a secondary successional forest located near a Christmas tree farm (Whitetail Tree Farm in Henry County). The objective of the study is to determine if there is a specific habitat preference during migration. Northern Saw-whet Owls prefer to breed in coniferous forests, while studies in the past have shown they also use deciduous forests during migration. The number of Northern Saw-whet Owls captured and banded will be compared by season and sex. Two stations have been established where the mist-netting will take place during the fall and spring migration. Both stations use the same method of mist-netting in which six nets are set up in a perpendicular cross-pattern and a recording of the Northern Saw-whet Owl call is played in the center of the net. These methods have been used and published by Project Owlnet. The Ball State University station has currently completed three seasons and is in process of the fourth season. Overall, 29 owls have been captured and banded: 15 at Whitetail Tree Farm, 14 at Ginn Woods. The majority of the owls captured were females and were captured during the fall migration. Spring data for the current season will be included in the presentation as well.
Biology
Oral Presentation

When & Where

10:45 AM
Gallahue Hall 102