Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) and Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) breeding records in managed boreal forests
Keywords:Nest boxes, breeding records, boreal forest, Boreal Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, clutch size, nesting success, partial logging
During the 2016 breeding season we monitored 169 nest boxes suitable for Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) and Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) in high-latitude (>55°N) boreal forests of northwestern Alberta affected by partial logging. Despite the large number of boxes deployed, the number of boxes used by Boreal and Northern Saw-whet Owls was small. Boreal Owls used nest boxes (n = 4) in conifer-dominated stands with three being in uncut blocks and the other in a 50% green tree retention cut-block. In contrast, Northern Saw-whet Owls used boxes (n = 4) in a broader range of cover types, breeding in boxes placed in stands with at least 20% post-harvest tree retention. Although both species successfully bred in the same landscape, Boreal Owls produced fewer eggs (mean = 2.5) and raised fewer young (mean = 0.5) than Northern Saw-whet Owls (5 and 2.25, respectively). Furthermore, our observed Boreal Owl egg production was lower than has been found for the same species nesting in nest boxes in different regions or forest types. In contrast, breeding parameters of Northern Saw-whet Owls were similar to that found in nest boxes in the eastern boreal region of Canada and in the southern part of its range.
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