Tawny Owl Calling Survey

Tawny Owls by Laurence Liddy

The Tawny Owl Calling Survey took place during 2018/19 - huge thanks to all that participated and made this survey a success. The results of the survey are now being analysed by BTO scientists.

The survey was easy to take part in - requiring a listen for 20 minutes during at least one evening between the 30th of September 2018 and 31st of March 2019. Participants listened from their garden, local park or woodland - even whilst lying in bed with the window open! All information was valuable, so even zero counts were helpful. 

Volunteers listened for their familiar 'hooting' and 'kee-wick' calls between sunset and midnight. All we asked was for people to tell us the date, start time of the 20 minute survey period, an estimate of cloud cover and importantly whether or not you heard an owl. If you heard a Tawny Owl at another time of the week outside the survey period you were also able to record this. From this we sought to understand their calling behaviour and distribution, and to discover the impact of urbanisation and artificial lighting. A previous comparable survey also took place during 2005/06 which we wanted to compare to in order to explore any changes.

Read an article on survey results from BTO News

Read an article on survey results from BTO News (PDF, 804.79 KB)

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Project timeline, contributions & findings

Project timeline

  • 09/2018 - survey began
  • 04/2019 - survey period ended
  • Data now being analysed

Contributions & findings

The survey aimed to explore the impact of artificial light pollution and other aspects of urbanisation as well as environmental conditions on the likelihood of hearing Tawny Owls and seasonal changes in Tawny Owl calling behaviour. 

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