As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Forestry England is calling out for rare and elusive long eared owls

7th July

New surveys are underway in the South West of England to study long eared owl populations.
It's been a decade since the UK’s rarest breeding owl species were last studied in this area and their numbers are thought to have declined significantly in the past century. Now, Forestry England and the Hawk and Owl Trust are carrying out a major survey of the birds across Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall thanks to Forest Holidays' Conservation Fund.
In a repeat of a 2009 survey, the project aims to give land managers a better understanding of the long eared owl’s distribution, as well as allowing experts to monitor other nocturnal birds. This improved knowledge will inform future site management and provide an opportunity to engage and educate the public.
Long eared owls are the UK’s rarest breeding owl and are very under-studied and under-recorded. The survey technique involves identifying potential nesting areas in each location, playing out long eared owl calls - both male and female - over loud speakers for a minute, then listening in silence for a further minute for their call backs.
So far, the survey has recorded winter calling at three sites, but suitable habitat was recorded at many more. All locations will be revisited during the summer to search for signs of breeding success. Long-eared owlets are noisy and far easier to find than adults.

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