Tawny Owl Point Survey

Despite being widespread, we know surprisingly little about our Tawny Owl population. The BTO's core monitoring schemes do suggest a recent decline but as they are daytime surveys, they can't show us the full picture.

Why survey Tawny Owls nationally?

We get better information on how Tawny Owl populations are doing by carrying out periodic targeted surveys with BTO previously carrying out national structured surveys for Tawny Owls in Britain in the autumns of 1989 and 2005. So by now carrying out comparable surveys that also take advantage of modern statistical techniques, we aim to get up to date measures of change in their occupancy and populations as well as habitat associations and geographical patterns. By extending the survey to multiple seasons we plan to also look at changes in their population over the course of the year and compare it to productivity/survival recorded in other BTO monitor projects like the Nest Record Scheme and Ringing Scheme. Through this, we hope to learn more about our noisy but often mysterious neighbours.

Tawny Owl Point Survey structure

This survey involves volunteers visiting random preselected tetrads (2x2km squares). In total there will over 6,000 tetrads available at the start of the survey, of which approximately 2650 were surveyed previously in 1989 and/or 2005. We want to survey as many of these as possible and depending on local interest expand this over the course of the survey. Check the tetrads available in your area and sign up to survey one.

The first survey period will run from August 15 until October 15 2018. During this time we'd ask you to make one to three (ideally at least two) short evening visits to your chosen tetrad within as short a period as possible. The whole process is planned to be repeated between mid-February and mid-March 2019, and (funding permitting) in autumn 2019/spring 2020. 

Read the full instructions for the Tawny Owl Point Survey.