Help Study Flammies—from Home!

23 April 2021

Each year, our own Dr. Dave Oleyar works with Dr. Markus Mika—and a whole team of community scientists—to study the breeding ecology and habitat relationships of small, cavity-nesting owls, like the Flammulated Owl. Perhaps you've even joined us for an expedition to help collect data for this Forest Owl Study, in partnership with the EarthWatch Institute.

Now, you can help us study Flammulated Owls, no matter where you live!

This totally virtual community science project will give you the opportunity to watch videos of prey deliveries in Flammulated Owl nests. You'll make note of the timing, frequency, and type of prey being delivered, and then record your data. Sound interesting? Check out the details below.

Project Title: Prey Deliveries in Flammulated Owl Nests

Project Goal:
Interpreting deliveries and prey types for Flammulated Owl nest occupants

What You'll Do: 
Watch delivery videos online and fill out a questionnaire on your observations

Project Description:
With this project, we are attempting to estimate the timing, frequency, and prey item diversity of parental food deliveries to breeding partners and young Flammulated Owl nest occupants. These birds are mostly feeding on insects and the project happens annually in northern Utah. The videos were recorded during the summer of 2020.

We hope to engage community scientists with online access to watch nightly delivery videos and take data from each video file by filling out an online survey. Data collected from each video include time (24hr clock), temperature (Celsius), determination of an actual food delivery, food recipients (adult partner or nestlings), and types of food items that may or may not be visible during the recording (moths, grasshoppers, beetles, vertebrate prey, etc.).

Each participant who requested data access will be provided with rights to a cloud data folder containing all the videos captured during one night survey from a single Flammulated Owl nest. Each folder may contain between 150 and 300 videos that are mostly 10 seconds long. We hope that community scientists have a chance to finish one survey night in a period of 2 weeks (14 days) from the day they received access to the videos. We anticipate that it might take 2-4 hours to complete the 150-300 videos. Community scientists who want to continue with more data interpretation after covering a single survey night are more than welcome to ask for seconds or thirds etc.

Ready To Get Started? Send an email to adding the Subject: "Owl food delivery participation". In up to 5 days, the PI will respond with access to a folder containing the video files and an online survey manual. Data entry happens through an online Qualtrics survey.


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