Title

Associations Between Burrowing Owls and Common Ravens in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, Idaho

Document Type

NCA Publications/Journals & Book Chapters

Publication Date

1-1-2017

Abstract

Common ravens (Corvus corax) are generalist predators that present an increasing threat for a number of avian species of conservation concern. Often in association with anthropogenic changes, common raven abundance has increased in western landscapes. For example, energy infrastructure including power transmission line towers provide perching and nesting sites for ravens in areas previously devoid of natural substrates, allowing populations to grow. Some raven populations have increased 11-fold since the 1960s. We are interested in the potential effects of common ravens on burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia), which are a species of conservation concern in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as ravens prey on owl nestlings and scavenge food from owl nests. Thus, we examined patterns of co-occurrence of common ravens and burrowing owls along 21 standardized point-count survey routes throughout the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area during 2017 and quantified raven visits at owl nests using a series of trail cameras. Our poster describes factors associated with raven-owl co-occurrence and the nature of their interactions at owl nests, and results will be useful for understanding potential paths to help mitigate negative effects of ravens on owls and other raptors.

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Associations Between Burrowing Owls and Common Ravens in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, Idaho

Common ravens (Corvus corax) are generalist predators that present an increasing threat for a number of avian species of conservation concern. Often in association with anthropogenic changes, common raven abundance has increased in western landscapes. For example, energy infrastructure including power transmission line towers provide perching and nesting sites for ravens in areas previously devoid of natural substrates, allowing populations to grow. Some raven populations have increased 11-fold since the 1960s. We are interested in the potential effects of common ravens on burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia), which are a species of conservation concern in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as ravens prey on owl nestlings and scavenge food from owl nests. Thus, we examined patterns of co-occurrence of common ravens and burrowing owls along 21 standardized point-count survey routes throughout the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area during 2017 and quantified raven visits at owl nests using a series of trail cameras. Our poster describes factors associated with raven-owl co-occurrence and the nature of their interactions at owl nests, and results will be useful for understanding potential paths to help mitigate negative effects of ravens on owls and other raptors.