Tawny Owl Point Survey

Survey Completed For Autumn 2018

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 carrying out a comparable survey this autumn (August 15th - October 15th 2018) that also take advantage of modern statistical techniques, we aim to get an up to date measure 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.

Map of tetrads surveyed in East Anglia during autumn 2018

Results coming soon!

Tawny Owl Point Survey structure

This survey involved volunteers visiting random preselected tetrads (2x2km squares). In total there were over 6,000 tetrads available at the start of the survey, of which approximately 2650 were surveyed previously in 1989 and/or 2005. Over 3000 of these tetrads were surveyed during autumn 2018 making it the largest and most in-depth survey of Tawny Owls ever.

The survey period is now over for autumn 2018 and once all the survey data is submitted the results will be analysed. Thank you to everyone who took part! The whole survey (funding permitting) is planned to be repeated between February and March 2019 and possibly beyond that in autumn 2019/spring 2020 to allow us to compare post and pre-breeding populations and potentially link that to breeding success.

Read the full instructions for the Tawny Owl Point Survey.