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25 June 2012

Third phase of Long-eared Owl Survey under way

Three 10km squares in Duhallow are undergoing a thorough survey for Long-eared Owls. The first phase in early spring involved tape playback of the Long-eared Owl's calls to elicit responses from adults holding territory. The second, third and fourth phases are to listen for young Long-eared Owl chicks in the same areas during June, late June/July and August respectively. 

With the third phase now underway, the number of possible territories stands at 3, 3 and 7 in each of the 10km squares. However, early indications are also that several of the known nests have failed, either due to predation by Hooded Crows or Pine Martens, or possibly due to the recent heavy rainfall. On the other hand, some nesting areas which weren't apparent from the playback phase have been found by locating the loud chicks. When the third and fourth phases are completed it will be possible to work out a thorough account of the population density of this elusive species.