Characteristics of Roost Sites Used by Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) Wintering in Southern Texas

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2007
Authors:Williford, DL, Woodin, MC, Skoruppa, MK, Hickman, GC
Journal:The Southwestern Naturalist
Volume:52
Issue:1
Date Published:2007
ISBN Number:00384909
Keywords:Athene, Athene cunicularia, Strigidae
Abstract:The western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) is threatened in Mexico, endangered in Canada, and declining in most of the western United States. Most previous research has focused on burrowing owl breeding biology, and little is known about its winter ecology. We determined characteristics of roost sites used by western burrowing owls in southern Texas during winter. Data on 46 winter roost sites were collected from 15 November 2001 to 15 February 2002. Of these roost sites, 87% were located on agricultural land, 80% were along roads, and 74% were concrete, steel, or cast-iron culverts. Mean diameter (±SE) of roost site openings was 22 ± 1.5 cm. Most roost sites (70%) were located on inaccessible private lands. Bare ground comprised 61% of ground cover within a 10-m radius of roost sites. We recommend that landowners and public-land managers should be encouraged to use smaller-diameter culverts when building roads or replacing old or damaged culverts and to graze livestock or mow around these culverts during winter. /// El tecolote llanero (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) está en peligro de extinción en Canadá, amenazado en México, y en decline en la mayor parte occidental de los Estados Unidos. La mayoría de las investigaciones previas se han enfocado en la biología reproductiva en los tecolotes llanero, y poco se sabe de su ecología invernal. Determinamos las características de las perchas usadas por los tecolotes llanero en el sur de Texas en el invierno. Colectamos datos de 46 perchas invernales del 15 de noviembre 2001 hasta el 15 de febrero 2002. De estas perchas, 87% estaban localizadas en tierras agrícolas, 80% a lo largo de caminos y 74% de las alcantarillas eran de concreto, acero o hierro fundido. Las perchas tienen un promedio diámetro de 22 ± 1.5 cm (±EE). La mayoría de las perchas (70%) estaban localizadas en terrenos privados inaccesibles. El 61% de los suelos estuvieron sin vegetación dentro un radio de 10-m de las perchas. Recomendamos que terratenientes y gerentes de terrenos públicos se animen a usar alcantarillas con diámetros más pequeños cuando construyan caminos o reemplacen alcantarillas viejas o dañadas, y pastorear el ganado o cortar el pasto alrededor de las alcantarillas durante el invierno.
URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/20424786
Short Title:The Southwestern Naturalist
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