Ecology, Habitat Use, and Probability of Detection of Flammulated Owls in the Boise National Forest

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Biology



Major Advisor

James R. Belthoff


This thesis consists of three chapters presenting results of my research on the ecology, habitat selection, and probability of detection of Flammulated Owls (Otus flammeolus) in Idaho. My objectives were to 1) document details of breeding season chronology, mortality, interspecific interactions, and movement patterns, 2) investigate patterns of habitat selection at multiple spatial scales, and 3) describe changes in detectability of owls by broadcast surveys over the course of the breeding season. I conducted fieldwork from May through August of 2005 and 2006 in the Lowman Ranger District of the Boise National Forest. In particular, I focused my studies in the Rock Creek, Miller Creek, and Lick Creek watersheds immediately surrounding the town of Lowman, in Boise County. As my research came to a close, the Rock Creek watershed began undergoing timber harvest, controlled burns, and other manipulations designed to thin the forest and help restore pre-settlement forest conditions. The behavioral and habitat use data I collected will serve as a reference in future studies to help understand the response of Flammulated Owls to such habitat manipulations. Numerous management agencies consider Flammulated Owls a sensitive species in part because of the lack of information on response to habitat alteration. Therefore information contained in this thesis should be useful to those interested in the biology and conservation of this little-known forest owl as well as to forest managers charged with guiding restoration efforts and management activities.

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