photo by Jacob McGinis
ABOUT THIS STUDY
Unusual urban owls
Although Barred Owls are typically found in pristine, large tracts of mature forest, they are commonly found in urban areas around Clemson. Little is know about why Barred Owls are thriving in urban landscapes in the Southeast, so we hope to shed light on the urban ecology of this nocturnal raptor with this study.
Learn more about barred owls at Cornell's All About Birds
Callback surveys involve playing a recording of a territorial call to elicit responses. This helps us detect owls at our sampling sites. By gathering information about where owls occur in the urban-to-rural gradient and measuring habitat variables at each of these sites, we can start to draw inference on the habitat traits owls might be selecting for.
Night surveys are done from sunset to sunrise by the researchers and volunteers. You may hear us playing a recording near you- if so, they only last fifteen minutes.
Tracking owls with GPS
One of the most exciting aspects of this project will be to track wild owls. By obtaining frequent location points, we can learn important information about how owls are behaving in the urban mosaic. We will learn about where owls nest and hunt, and how they may be taking advantage of urban areas to thrive.
To deploy GPS transmitters, we will trap wild owls using a lure. Once trapped, owls are carefully fitted with a "backpack" or harness that carries an ultra-light transmitter on their back. This transmitter will take a location point every hour of the night, and data will be transmitted to us remotely via radio-waves. This part of our work could not be done without the support of our participating homeowners.