Despite being some of the most charismatic and well-loved species, owls are often understudied due to their nocturnal nature. HWI has taken to the riparian canyons of southeast Arizona and the aspen forests of Northern Utah to study knowledge gap forest owl species. The species we study are all cavity nesters, meaning that their survival is deeply entwined with the health of the forest. Through our long-term study, we are looking to learn how factors, such as climate change, may alter the landscape of the forests and the food sources within them and, as a result, affect the health of small forest owl species. Much of this work is thanks to our partners Earthwatch who organize groups of community scientists to aid in this work, and Dr. Markus Mika from the University of Wisconsin Lacrosse, who leads the Utah portion of our study area in Northern Utah.
Future of the Program
Our Following Forest Owl program now supports biologist Kassandra Townsend, who is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Idaho. She is using iButton data loggers deployed in occupied and unoccupied cavities to understand the optimal microclimate for nesting. Kassandra will use available climate change data to show how these owls’ habitats and reproductive success may be affected by changing environments. Additionally, we have begun administering GPS tracking devices on Flammulated Owls and Whiskered Screech-owls to learn more about their movement.
Looking for More Information?
Here’s How You Can Help
Join an Earthwatch Expedition: You can tag along for a week in the field to learn what it is like to be a scientist and see owls up close. Click here to learn more.
Read More in Our Publications, Reports, and Comments
Contact the Team to Learn More
This program is led by Dr. Dave Oleyar, Director of Long-term Monitoring and Community Science, and our Long-term Monitoring and Community Science team. To learn more, contact email@example.com
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Every season we provide employment for early-career biologists through our internship program. Help us create a more equitable future for the field of conservation