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Swifts and Swallows

Manitoba Nocturnal Owl Survey

In 1991, Jim and Patsy Duncan in cooperation with Manitoba Conservation initiated the first extensive, systematic volunteer owl survey in Canada. The objectives were to:

  • determine relative owl species abundance and distribution,
  • determine species-specific habitat associations,
  • determine multi-annual population fluctuations, and
  • provide an opportunity for volunteers to contribute to our understanding of owl ecology.

Initially consisting of 21 routes in southeastern Manitoba and adjacent Minnesota, initial emphasis was placed on the Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) and Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa). Consequently, playbacks of these two species were used. By 1998, the survey had grown to 77 routes and expanded to include Manitoba's Interlake and Prairie Regions, and playback of Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) and Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) were used. By 1999, over 400 volunteers had participated in this survey. The survey protocol changed significantly in the year 2000. Route length, spacing between listening stations and listening time all changed and the playback was dropped. The change was made in order to standardize the methods across Canada and become part of the nation-wide owl survey. This owl survey has been run every year from 1991 to the present. Ten species of owls have been detected on these surveys: Barn Owl, Barred Owl, Boreal Owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, Great Gray Owl, Great Horned Owl, Long-eared Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, and Short-eared Owl.

Online data entry is now available by clicking on the data entry link below. We have input all existing routes into this system. If you are interested in getting involved in Manitoba's Nocturnal Owl Survey or have questions, please contact:

Christian Artuso,
Bird Studies Canada - Manitoba,
Box 24, 200 Saulteaux Crescent, Winnipeg, MB R3J 3W3
Phone: (204) 945-6816 or Toll-free: 1-800-214-6497
E-mail: cartuso@birdscanada.org


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