Short-eared Owl conservation project

In the spring of 2012, the Zoo sauvage de Saint-Félicien and the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) launched the Short-eared Owl Conservation Project to find out more about the status of this species (Asio flammeus) in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region.

About the species

The short-eared owl is one of the few owl species to be found almost everywhere on the planet. Unfortunately, its wide distribution has not prevented its decline in most parts of the world. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has given it special concern status. According to the COSEWIC, Canadian populations have decreased by 23% over the last decade. In Quebec, this species is likely to be designated as threatened or vulnerable.

Why are populations declining? Among other many factors, urbanization resulting in loss of habitat and agricultural development causing destruction of nests and owlets. As this species nests on the ground in fields, eggs and owlets are very vulnerable during crop mowing and harvesting.

Little is known about this species and therefore, data collection is essential to establishing its status in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region.

Project objectives

• Develop a mechanism to inventory the short-eared owl in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region and in other regions.

• Count individuals (short-eared owls and other birds of prey).

• Record the intraspecific behaviour of individuals observed (hunting, courtship rituals, nest building, mating, feeding, etc.).

• Record the interspecific behaviour of individuals observed.

• Record habitat use of the species.

• Work with farmers to find the bird and protect it and the nest if needed.

Help us and contact us if you think you have observed the species.

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