Scottish owl tracked to Morocco

Scottish owl tracked to Morocco

17 Dec 2019

Short-eared Owl by Tom Streeter

A Short-eared Owl, fitted with a satellite tag whilst breeding in Scotland, has been tracked to Morocco. Researchers from BTO Scotland have been developing methods for surveying Short-eared Owls in their breeding haunts and tracking the movements of individuals across the year. Even though only a handful of birds have been fitted with tracking devices so far we have already seen some amazing movements, the most exciting of which has just been revealed.

A breeding female, tagged at her nest site on Arran on 11 June this year, is currently wintering near Oualidia in Morocco. The bird left Arran to visit Bute and Kintyre from 15 – 17 July, returning to Arran for 10 days and then moving to mainland Ayrshire on 27 July. She remained here (near Dalmellington) until the end of October. She then moved to Devon, where she was present on 8 November, leaving the following evening to head south. With the help of a strong tail wind, she travelled 495 km into France in just six hours – that's an average of 82.5 km/h! She then continued south, crossing the Pyrenees on 13 November and the Strait of Gibraltar on 24 November to reach Morocco. Find out more about the Short-eared Owl tracking project.