In Canada, a few provinces and independent agencies have developed standardized
protocols for Short-eared Owl surveys, and there is a general sense that
it would be desirable to develop a common approach that could be used
across Canada (and beyond) in an effort to standardize results and
enable comparison among regions. We hope to obtain permission to
post or link to some of these protocols here. The Newfoundland and
Labrador Management Plan includes a survey protocol tested in that province. A recent British Trust of Ornithology Research Report (Calladine et al. 2008) provides a detailed assessment of field monitoring efforts of breeding Short-eared Owls in Scotland, which may be largely applicable to other areas as well, as does a previous report by Calladine et al. (2005) providing background information on the development of survey techniques.
MRF developed a standardized survey protocol as part of the M.Sc. work by Kristen Keyes, available in her thesis. Minor modifications are underway in preparation for a protocol that will be proposed for use across North America.
Accurately describing the critical habitat of Short-eared Owls is
one of the key challenges facing researchers. Vegetation
inventories, photo documentation, and interpretation of topographic maps
have all been used in different areas, with varying levels of success.
As with population surveys, it would be advantageous to develop a
technique that could be applied throughout the species' range..
Have you developed or used a standardized survey for Short-eared Owl habitat or population monitoring? If so, please e-mail us details.