Habitat Use by Eastern Screech-Owls in Central Kentucky (Habitat Utilizado por Otus asio in la Parte Central de Kentucky)

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Habitat use by 17 radio-tagged Eastern Screech-Owls (Otus asio) was examined in central Kentucky. On a rural study area, owls used woodlot (deciduous forest) and edge habitats more than expected based on availability, and used pastures, old fields and cropland less than expected. Screech-owls may prefer wooded habitats because they offer increased prey availability and suitable hunting perches. During the non-breeding period, some adult screech-owls increased use of woodlot habitat. This shift may reflect improved hunting conditions in woodlots and changes in roosting behavior during winter, i.e., owls shift to roosting in tree cavities in woodlots. Juvenile screech-owls used edge habitats more during the non-breeding (post-dispersal) period. If woodlot habitat is preferred during this period, as indicated by the behavior of adults, then resident, adult screech-owls may be limiting juveniles to suboptimal edge habitats.

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