Towards integrated population monitoring based on the fieldwork of volunteer ringers: productivity, survival and population change of Tawny Owls Strix aluco and Ural Owls Strix uralensis in Finland

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Saurola , P L & Francis , C 2018 , ' Towards integrated population monitoring based on the fieldwork of volunteer ringers: productivity, survival and population change of Tawny Owls Strix aluco and Ural Owls Strix uralensis in Finland ' , Bird Study , vol. 65 , no. supplement 1 , pp. S63-S76 . https://doi.org/10.1080/00063657.2018.1481364

Title: Towards integrated population monitoring based on the fieldwork of volunteer ringers: productivity, survival and population change of Tawny Owls Strix aluco and Ural Owls Strix uralensis in Finland
Author: Saurola, Pertti Lauri; Francis, Charles
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Zoology
Date: 2018
Language: eng
Number of pages: 14
Belongs to series: Bird Study
ISSN: 0006-3657
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/303622
Abstract: ABSTRACT Capsule: Monitoring of demographic parameters by volunteer ringers provides insight into the factors driving population changes in owls. Aims: To assess the value of national ringing, recapture and recovery data from volunteers to understand population dynamics. Methods: We analysed 49 years of ringing, recapture and recovery data from throughout Finland for Tawny Owls Strix aluco and Ural Owls Strix uralensis and compared them with annual population and productivity indices from other volunteer-based surveys. Results: Volunteer-based ringing data show that all aspects of the demography of Ural and Tawny Owls fluctuate dramatically in relation to an approximately three-year cycle of voles. When voles are abundant, a high proportion of owls breed and many young are produced; however, few of those young survive because vole populations crash the following winter. Survival of adults fluctuates less than that of young, suggesting that adults are better able to survive on alternative prey. In 2005, when vole populations remained high two years in row, many young were produced and survived, leading to a peak in owl breeding populations four years later at the top of the next vole cycle. This was immediately followed by a crash in populations suggesting a densitydependent interaction with vole abundance. Changing climate could affect owls both directly, by influencing winter survival, as well as indirectly through impacting prey availability. Conclusion: Encouraging similar, volunteer-based national-scale ringing efforts for owls elsewhere in Europe, especially for Tawny Owls which occur in most countries, would be a cost-effective way to understand how factors such as changing prey availability, climate and habitat availability are influencing the population levels of this and other raptors.
Subject: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
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