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Flammulated Owl Distribution and Detections in Montana: Results from a region-wide survey. Amy Cilimburg Avian Science Center University of Montana. Landbird Monitoring Program. Bird point counts -- 1994 -– many partners Long-term monitoring and habitat relationships Management effects

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slide1

Flammulated Owl Distribution and Detections in Montana: Results from a region-wide survey

Amy Cilimburg

Avian Science Center

University of Montana

landbird monitoring program
Landbird Monitoring Program
  • Bird point counts -- 1994 -– many partners
  • Long-term monitoring and habitat relationships
  • Management effects
  • Target species
flam background
FLAM BACKGROUND
  • Neotropical migrants
  • Arrive MT early to mid-May
  • Strictly nocturnal
  • Not captured via other monitoring efforts
flam background cont
FLAM BACKGROUND cont.
  • Feed primarily on Lepidoptera – nocturnal moths
  • Habitat requirements:
    • Large snags (Pileated WP or N. Flicker holes)
    • Open forests for foraging
    • Dense patches for roosting
  • Forest type
    • Ponderosa Pine / Douglas Fir
    • Open Doug fir mix
2005 usfs lbmp goals
2005 USFS - LBMP GOALS
  • Develop R1 protocol for Flammulated Owl surveys
  • Determine distribution – especially east of the divide
  • Expand understanding of habitat associations – especially west
  • Establish repeatable routes
  • Determine detection probability
slide7

Protocol and Planning

  • Protocol -- talked with owl experts and Forest Service biologists; reviewed the literature.
  • Combined -- understanding of owl behavior + logistical realities…..
  • Nocturnal Broadcast Surveys
  • Transects along roads or trails
  • Spatial data via GPS
  • Standardized calling procedures
  • Where to survey???????
where to survey
WHERE TO SURVEY???
  • Previously established surveys on some forests, none on others
        • GIS MODELING
  • Overall, cast a wide net in “reasonable” habitat
  • Forest-specific vegetation and road layers
  • Use: age class (old growth or mature), size class, canopy cover
  • Stands within 500m of roads or trails
the 2005 field season
THE 2005 FIELD SEASON
  • Cold wet June
  • No night-time encounters with Mountain Lions, drunken locals
  • No one fell asleep and crashed while driving back to camp
  • There are owls out there!
other owls
Other Owls
  • 49 Great Horned Owls
  • 24 Barred Owls
  • 21 Northern Saw-whet Owl
  • 5 Northern Pygmy Owls
  • 4 Boreal Owls
  • 3 Western Screech Owls
  • 2 Great Grey Owls
  • 2 Long-eared Owls
  • 1 Short-eared Owl
slide20

Flam Owls detected

Flams NOT detected

Idaho

Montana

by the numbers
BY THE NUMBERS:
  • Detected 243 FLAMS – 9% of points
  • Set up and ran 265 transects (2721 pts)
  • Resampled on 5 forests – 59 transects
  • Approximately 206 unique owls
  • On all but 3 forests: Lewis & Clark, Custer, Gallatin
more numbers
More Numbers
  • Owls detected May 9-July 21
    • first and last day of surveying!
  • Detections only slightly lower after ~ mid-June.
  • 65% of detections made after playing caller – early season ~50%.
  • Extended call increased our detections.
more results
More Results

DETECTION

  • the probability of detecting an owl at a site in a single visit, when present.
    • Overall detection probability = 0.72
  • OCCUPANCY
  • the fraction of sampling units in a landscape where a target speciesis present.
    • Overall Probability of Occurrence for R1 = 0.388
    • 10% higher than if no detection adjustment
occupancy cont
Occupancy, cont.

HELPFUL PAPER:

MacKenzie and Royle. 2005. Designing occupancy studies: general advice and allocating survey effort. Journal of Applied Ecology 42: 1105-1114.

  • RARE SPECIES – more efficient to survey more sampling units less intensively.
  • COMMON SPECIES - fewer sampling units should be surveyed more intensively.
slide27

Optimal # of surveys to conduct at each site…..

Table 1 from MacKenzie and Royle 2005

P = Detection probability

ψ = Prob. of occurrence

occupancy cont1
Occupancy, cont.
  • Journal of Wildlife Management 2005
    • Special Section in Issue 3: The value and utility of Presence-Absence Data in Wildlife Monitoring and Research
  • New Book
    • – Occupancy Estimation and Modeling: inferring Patterns and Dynamics of Species Occurrence. 2006. MacKenzie et al.
habitat associations
Habitat Associations
  • ~ 60% ponderosa pine / doug fir
  • ~ 75 % ponderosa + anything
  • ~ 25% primarily Douglas Fir with other associated species
  • However, need to look different scales, gis…. More work here….
slide32

A FLAM was calling from the ridge in the foreground in early July. 

  • Primarily Doug-fir, with large P pines, and a few large snags on ridge. 
  • Bertie Lord Creek watershed, Sula Ranger District, Bitterroot NF. 
slide33

Two Flammulated Owls called from within 50 meters of this location in mid-July.

  • Woods Creek watershed, West Fork Ranger District, Bitterroot NF
thanks
THANKS
  • US Forest Service – Skip Kowalski and Forest Biologists
  • The many intrepid nocturnal field technicians
  • Vita Wright
  • Jim Baldwin, USFS PSW statistician
  • ASC Staff – Anna Noson (GIS)