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Snapshot by Barn_McStever

Snapshot by Barn_McStever

Long-Eared Owl Live Chat (1/30)

Calling all owl lovers! We’ve got a special live chat with Owl Research Institute on January 30th at 1 pm PT/ 4 pm ET! ORI will spend some talking about the roost cam and why having it is especially important to researchers as well as the general public. Not only does this cam give researchers a peek into LEO behavior, but it also helps them understand their roles within their communities as well as how roosting pertains to reproduction.

So post your questions for Denver Holt below! We look forward to learning more about these fascinating birds! When we go live you can watch on the Long-Eared Owl Cam here!

 Information about their Long-eared Owl research:

We began the Long-eared Owl study in western Montana in 1987. The initial research question was to determine if communal roosts of Long-eared Owls were comprised of family groups, other related individuals, or non-related individuals.

Long-eared Owls are one of only a few species of owls in the world that aggregate during the non-breeding season to form communal roosts. In Montana, this is usually during autumn and winter. At times, they also nest in close proximity – but do not fit the definition of colonial nesters.

​Since the study began, a host of other questions arose, as happens in most studies.  These were simple research questions such as: clutch size, hatching success, fledging success, food habits, nest-site characteristics, winter roost-site characteristics, molt, migration, and more.  Even our DNA and other molecular studies, although interesting, are simple descriptive questions.  Through 30 years of Long-eared Owl research, we have banded over 1,900 individuals and found over 225 nests.

​We achieved many of our objectives and answered several original questions.  For example, we now know that winter communal groups of these owls rarely comprise members of the same family.

​We developed a quantitative technique to discern plumage color differences between males and females.

​We also unraveled the long-term mating system and determined that the owls were seasonally monogamous, but life-long polygynous. We quantified stress hormones, which allowed us to evaluate or research impact on these owls.

Overall, however, we are most proud of our long-term data on our local populations, which indicated Long-eared Owl numbers are declining.  We are unsure of the factors influencing this and are presently trying to generate interest from other states and groups to conduct more widespread monitoring for this species.

  • MissHav

    There have been many visits to the Charlo nest by Owls. Do you think that they will try to use it instead of the Osprey?

  • Karen Kruse

    I’m curious about the 6 long eared owls hanging out together near the nest. Are they the (mostly grown) owlets from last year? Will they leave to make their own nests elsewhere? Who gets the nest?!

  • Mairzedotes

    Are you able to determine a male vs female ratio for the LEO’s in a particular communal area using the “quantitative technique to discern plumage color differences between males and females.” you developed? thank you

  • susyq

    Is there some correlation of habitat loss with lower population of long eared owls?

  • SnowBear

    Please talk about the color differences you have used to determine sex of the LEOs. Thank you!

    • Mairzedotes

      great question!

  • Wendy L

    Why do we have to sign in so many times this year? It seems like every time I refresh the page, I need to sign in. Why?

  • Deborah-TX (2014)

    When the LEO nest cam first cam on the snow cover on and around the trees appeared thick and we saw 8 to 12 owls roosting together. Now the snow cover on the trees appears to be thinner and the roost appears to attract 4 to 6 owls.Is this a pattern you have seen in other areas with greater numbers roosting together during heavy snow events?

    • Mairzedotes

      super question!

      • Deborah-TX (2014)

        Thanks. If Denver answered it I missed his answer :-(

        • Mairzedotes

          oh watch the video! he said it was a great observation and question!

          • Deborah-TX (2014)

            I will.
            Interesting new avatar Mairzedotes

  • Deborah-TX (2014)

    Based on the plumage difference do you see many males roosting with just 1 or 2 females or does it reverse with many females roosting near a limited number of males?

  • Teri chamberlin

    I know that some folks have many questions about the happenings over in Charlo, relating to the Osprey nest and GHO’s. Could you please let us know “If” we are able to ask questions about it?

    • Deborah-TX (2014)

      Teri in past chats Denver has always been willing to answer other owl questions after he covered the chat topic. Since this topic is the LEO cam those questions will go first. If you identify which nest you are asking about
      I’m sure he will answer if he has time.
      Example
      GHO nest cam in Charlo
      is not the same as
      GHO pair now appearing at the Charlo osprey nest cam

  • Septemberspirit

    What is the difference between a LEO and a GHO?

  • Septemberspirit

    Can you share some pics of what is on the backside of the nest behind the camera?

  • Rknrbn

    We are loving the new camera on the Osprey nest. The view is so clear and sharp, and the snapsots are fantastic! What factors were considered when determining the placement of the camera? It currently appears as though it might be somewhat difficult to see inside the bowl to determine when the eggs actually laid, pip, and hatch. If this turns out to be the case, would it be an option to move it to a higher location for the next breeding season? Thank you!

    • Laramie1

      ☺☺☺

    • Mairzedotes

      great question! and answered! thank you

  • Laramie1

    Hello Denver. Thank you so much for your life long research and having the Long-Eared Owl and Great Gray Owl cam. I will be participating in the Short-Eared Owl citizen science project near Laramie, Wyoming this April/May. Can you give me some pointers on locating and identifying the Short-Eared Owls? Thank you.

  • Rknrbn

    On the Charlo Osprey nest, the visiting pair of GHOWs have had two matings that appear to have been more significant than the first two that we witnessed, which appeared more like unsuccessful attempts. During the last two, the female assumed a different (forward leaning) posture, the birds were closer together and for a longer period of time, and one of them made a loud, whistling ‘tea-kettle’ sound. Which bird is making that sound and does this indicate a successful copulation?

    • Mairzedotes

      super!

  • Carole Kline

    HI Denver, Can you discuss the impact that the forest fires last year in the Missoula area may have had on the owl population in western Montana? What about habitat? Are more owls fighting for smaller territory for nesting this year? Is there any upside, i.e. more snags for nesting, etc.?
    Thank you so much for offering this live chat! I really enjoyed listening in last year!

  • Veronica Konkova

    Did you investigate the difference in plumage color of males and femails only for the American population or for European too? I see that American LEO have more orange fascial disk and European have it grey-brown. For me it’s very important to discern males and femails, espetcially for resqued birds, when I need to find new long termed home for them.

  • Brenda Lane

    how dangerous are weasels to leo ?

  • ValleyFlowers

    What are the chances lower numbers of LEOs in that area are due to owl moving into different areas? What conditions might prompt that type of habitat migration?

  • Septemberspirit

    We can’t hear you! Mic moved?

  • cathy

    I heard osprey used to nest in communal groups with less attacks on chicks and after osprey numbers declined and began to rebound they are nesting farther apart which might be causing more attacks on their chicks. What can you tell us about this and will the human-made nests be placed closer together?

    • Laramie1

      Good question.

  • Birdy

    Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Denver. do you think the GHO’s will use the Charlo nest for their eggs?

    • Birdy

      I see this question was asked below, can someone tell me if Denver answered it plz.

      • Laramie1

        He is answering right now.

        • Birdy

          I heard him, thanks so much =)

          • Laramie1

            ☺☺☺

  • Birdy

    Which raptor was the Charlo nest original put up for?

    • http://explore.org/ explore.org mod

      It has historically been used by Osprey.

      • Birdy

        Thank you!

  • Birdy

    I think it’s very interesting to see the LEO sitting together on the branches, can you elaborate on this behavior? are they siblings?

    • Birdy

      Thank you for your answers!

  • Deborah-TX (2014)

    Is Wonky the female GHO at the Charlo nest the same female GHO as the female owl with the enlarged pupil we watched in 2015?

  • Birdy

    This was so great thanks to all!

  • Septemberspirit

    What’s behind the nest platform? Lakes, pastureland, etc?