Some observations of short-eared owl, asio flammeus, ecology on arctic tundra, yukon, canada

Donald Reid, Frank Doyle, Alice Kenney, Charles Krebs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated nesting behavior, food habits, and interspecific interactions of Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus) within an arctic tundra raptor community on Herschel Island and Komakuk Beach, northern Yukon, Canada. Short-eared Owls were the least common nesting raptor. We found only three nests, all on Herschel Island. All nests were on relatively elevated sites with fairly substantial vegetative cover. All nests failed in the egg stage, from a combination of human disturbance and possible predation by Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) or Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes). Short-eared Owls nested only in years when small rodent densities were at least 4 to 5 individuals per hectare in the spring. Short-eared Owls ate Northern Collared Lemmings (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus), Brown Lemmings (Lemmus trimucronatus), and Tundra Voles (Microtus oeconomus) almost exclusively, without clear selectivity. Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) killed two adult Short-eared Owls. In northern Yukon, the Short-eared Owl remains an uncommon summer resident and uses the region as a migration route. Spring rodent densities and interspecific predation are prominent limiting factors, and human disturbance also limits nesting success. We recommend restricting access to most tundra areas during periods when the birds are mating, initiating nesting, and incubating eggs. We recommend that human infrastructure be designed so that it cannot support novel nesting (and therefore local range expansion) by other nesting raptors that compete with and prey on Short-earned Owls.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalThe Canadian Field-Naturalist
Volume125
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Asio
Yukon Territory
tundra
Strigiformes
raptor
Canada
ecology
nest
rodent
birds of prey
Microtus oeconomus
predation
Vulpes lagopus
nesting behavior
egg
disturbance
nesting success
nests
Vulpes vulpes
migration route

Cite this

Reid, Donald ; Doyle, Frank ; Kenney, Alice ; Krebs, Charles. / Some observations of short-eared owl, asio flammeus, ecology on arctic tundra, yukon, canada. In: The Canadian Field-Naturalist. 2011 ; Vol. 125, No. 4. pp. 307-315.
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abstract = "We investigated nesting behavior, food habits, and interspecific interactions of Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus) within an arctic tundra raptor community on Herschel Island and Komakuk Beach, northern Yukon, Canada. Short-eared Owls were the least common nesting raptor. We found only three nests, all on Herschel Island. All nests were on relatively elevated sites with fairly substantial vegetative cover. All nests failed in the egg stage, from a combination of human disturbance and possible predation by Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) or Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes). Short-eared Owls nested only in years when small rodent densities were at least 4 to 5 individuals per hectare in the spring. Short-eared Owls ate Northern Collared Lemmings (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus), Brown Lemmings (Lemmus trimucronatus), and Tundra Voles (Microtus oeconomus) almost exclusively, without clear selectivity. Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) killed two adult Short-eared Owls. In northern Yukon, the Short-eared Owl remains an uncommon summer resident and uses the region as a migration route. Spring rodent densities and interspecific predation are prominent limiting factors, and human disturbance also limits nesting success. We recommend restricting access to most tundra areas during periods when the birds are mating, initiating nesting, and incubating eggs. We recommend that human infrastructure be designed so that it cannot support novel nesting (and therefore local range expansion) by other nesting raptors that compete with and prey on Short-earned Owls.",
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Reid, D, Doyle, F, Kenney, A & Krebs, C 2011, 'Some observations of short-eared owl, asio flammeus, ecology on arctic tundra, yukon, canada', The Canadian Field-Naturalist, vol. 125, no. 4, pp. 307-315.

Some observations of short-eared owl, asio flammeus, ecology on arctic tundra, yukon, canada. / Reid, Donald; Doyle, Frank; Kenney, Alice; Krebs, Charles.

In: The Canadian Field-Naturalist, Vol. 125, No. 4, 2011, p. 307-315.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Some observations of short-eared owl, asio flammeus, ecology on arctic tundra, yukon, canada

AU - Reid, Donald

AU - Doyle, Frank

AU - Kenney, Alice

AU - Krebs, Charles

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N2 - We investigated nesting behavior, food habits, and interspecific interactions of Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus) within an arctic tundra raptor community on Herschel Island and Komakuk Beach, northern Yukon, Canada. Short-eared Owls were the least common nesting raptor. We found only three nests, all on Herschel Island. All nests were on relatively elevated sites with fairly substantial vegetative cover. All nests failed in the egg stage, from a combination of human disturbance and possible predation by Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) or Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes). Short-eared Owls nested only in years when small rodent densities were at least 4 to 5 individuals per hectare in the spring. Short-eared Owls ate Northern Collared Lemmings (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus), Brown Lemmings (Lemmus trimucronatus), and Tundra Voles (Microtus oeconomus) almost exclusively, without clear selectivity. Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) killed two adult Short-eared Owls. In northern Yukon, the Short-eared Owl remains an uncommon summer resident and uses the region as a migration route. Spring rodent densities and interspecific predation are prominent limiting factors, and human disturbance also limits nesting success. We recommend restricting access to most tundra areas during periods when the birds are mating, initiating nesting, and incubating eggs. We recommend that human infrastructure be designed so that it cannot support novel nesting (and therefore local range expansion) by other nesting raptors that compete with and prey on Short-earned Owls.

AB - We investigated nesting behavior, food habits, and interspecific interactions of Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus) within an arctic tundra raptor community on Herschel Island and Komakuk Beach, northern Yukon, Canada. Short-eared Owls were the least common nesting raptor. We found only three nests, all on Herschel Island. All nests were on relatively elevated sites with fairly substantial vegetative cover. All nests failed in the egg stage, from a combination of human disturbance and possible predation by Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) or Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes). Short-eared Owls nested only in years when small rodent densities were at least 4 to 5 individuals per hectare in the spring. Short-eared Owls ate Northern Collared Lemmings (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus), Brown Lemmings (Lemmus trimucronatus), and Tundra Voles (Microtus oeconomus) almost exclusively, without clear selectivity. Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) killed two adult Short-eared Owls. In northern Yukon, the Short-eared Owl remains an uncommon summer resident and uses the region as a migration route. Spring rodent densities and interspecific predation are prominent limiting factors, and human disturbance also limits nesting success. We recommend restricting access to most tundra areas during periods when the birds are mating, initiating nesting, and incubating eggs. We recommend that human infrastructure be designed so that it cannot support novel nesting (and therefore local range expansion) by other nesting raptors that compete with and prey on Short-earned Owls.

KW - Asio flammeus

KW - Herschel Island

KW - Herschel Island-Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park

KW - Ivvavik National Park of Canada

KW - Komakuk Beach

KW - Nesting success

KW - Prey selection

KW - Raptor community

KW - Short-eared Owl

KW - Yukon.

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JO - The Canadian Field-Naturalist

JF - The Canadian Field-Naturalist

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