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21 June 2019 Long-Term Stability of Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) Population Despite Varying Environmental Conditions – a Case Study from Central Poland
Jakub Gryz, Longina Chojnacka-Ożga, Dagny Krauze-Gryz
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Abstract

Our aim was to determine dynamics in a population of tawny owls Strix aluco over 15-year period, in relation to year-to-year variation in environmental conditions. The research was carried out in a habitat mosaic of fields and forest in central Poland, over the 2004–2018 period. Numbers of pairs (territories) were established by the standard playback survey technique supplemented by searches for nest sites. The selected environmental factors studied in parallel were the acorn production, density changes in field and forest rodents, meteorological conditions in winter and density of martens (Martes spp.). At the start of the study period 20 nest boxes designed for tawny owls were placed out in the study area. This number was enlarged by additional 27 nest boxes placed in 2012. The number of owls in the area remained stable – in the range of 26–29 pairs, despite changes in nesting sites availability. However, moderate influence of rodent density and winter conditions on population abundance was detected. Also, peak in the rodent population coincided with greater clutch size and numbers of young owls reared. Densities of martens remained relatively stable throughout the study period, and there were no reported cases of these carnivores killing tawny owls, despite the former taking shelter in the owl-boxes.

Jakub Gryz, Longina Chojnacka-Ożga, and Dagny Krauze-Gryz "Long-Term Stability of Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) Population Despite Varying Environmental Conditions – a Case Study from Central Poland," Polish Journal of Ecology 67(1), 75-83, (21 June 2019). https://doi.org/10.3161/15052249PJE2019.67.1.006
Received: 1 January 2019; Published: 21 June 2019
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
acorn production
field-forest fragmentation
martens
nest box
raptor
rodents
winter weather conditions
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