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29 July 2012

Final phase of Long-eared Owl survey

The fourth and final phase of the 2012 Duhallow Long-eared Owl Survey will begin on 1st August.

The first phase in April was the tape-playback of the calls of adult Long-eared Owls, and all responses from adult birds were recorded in three 10 km squares in Duhallow (each 10 km square equals 100 square kilometres). This phase resulted in 6-7, 3 and 3-4 territories being located in each of the squares. However, not all Long-eared Owls will respond to the tape, so three follow-up visits were planned, in May-June, in July, and again in August.

Long-eared Owl chick (Photo: Eric Dempsey).

Since then, with two full re-surveys of the three squares, some additional territories were located by listening for young Long-eared Owls calling at night (you can hear what they sound like on this page HERE). The final phase which is about to start will be a final re-survey of the three squares in the hope of locating any late-nesting Long-eared Owls. Although most Long-eared Owls will have already finished breeding this year, and the young fledged and dispersed, there are still reports coming in from around the country of Long-eared Owl chicks calling, as recently as Friday last, so it is possible that one or two more may be found in the Duhallow squares.

Either way, it looks as though Long-eared Owls outnumber Barn Owls by about two to one in the three 10 km squares.