BTO – Tawny Owls – Part 2 – Calling Survey

BTO – Tawny Owl Calling Survey

This survey starts on 20 September, and the BTO has online registration up and running already. Volunteers can take part in the survey from their garden, or any other green space, and the survey runs through to 31 March. It’s a very simple survey, asking volunteers to listen out just once a week, for 20 minutes, between sunset and midnight. They don’t have to take part every week, but we’d hope most volunteers can contribute at least six weeks. Volunteers that don’t hear Tawny Owls are also really important (we’re calling them a #zerohero on social media).

This work builds on information collected by 3,465 volunteers in 2005/06, who listened for Tawny Owls in their gardens. We found that the time of day, the moon cycle and weather influenced Tawny Owl calling behaviour. We’re keen to engage a lot more people this time round.

How you can help

Anyone can help us by taking part in the survey, and listening for Tawny Owls in your garden or local green space or any other place that can be visited repeatedly. All you need to do is to listen for Tawny Owls for 20 minutes on one evening a week from 30 September to 31 March. Although the more weeks you listen the better, you’ll be able to do as many or as few weeks during the survey period as you feel able.
Be a zero hero! We need your help even if you have never heard a Tawny Owl locally. Records of where we can’t hear them are just as valuable to us as records where owls are present.
You will be able to register for this survey soon, and full instructions as well as resources to help identify Tawny Owl calls will be provided.

How does urbanisation impact Tawny Owls?

Tawny Owls are our most frequently heard/seen owl in and around gardens, but despite our familiarity with these birds, we know little about the impacts of urbanisation on their behaviour, and how it influences our ability to detect their presence. Tawny Owls are reliant on vocalisations, using them to show ownership of a breeding territory, as well as attracting a mate and reinforcing a pair bond. You can help us explore the impact of artificial light pollution and other aspects of urbanisation on the likelihood of hearing Tawny Owls. At the same time we’ll also look at seasonal changes in Tawny Owl calling behaviour more generally and see if urbanisation plays a role in this too.