The Effects of Roadway Mortality on Barn Owls in Southern Idaho and a Study of Ornamentation in North American Barn Owls

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Raptor Biology



Major Advisor

James Belthoff


This thesis consists of two chapters describing my investigations of roadway mortality and ornamentation of barn owls (Tyto alba) in southern Idaho. My research objectives were to (1) quantify roadway mortality of barn owls along a 248-kilometer stretch of Interstate 84, (2) examine the factors that influence roadway mortality of barn owls in this area, (3) refine my estimates of roadway mortality by performing bias experiments, and (4) investigate the potential relationships between ornamentation (in the form of ventral spottiness) and quality in North American barn owls (T. a. pratincola) and compare my results to similar studies of European barn owls (T. a. guttata and T. a. alba). I performed my research from July 2004 to December 2007. Information contained in this thesis should be of interest to individuals investigating human- induced mortality of wildlife, roadway mortality of birds, or sexual selection and ornamentation in avian species, as well as to biologists involved with general research and conservation of barn owls.

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