In two short weeks it will be time to start surveying owls in Manitoba again! Some of you may be interested in joining this extremely popular survey. As you may know, Jim and Patsy Duncan created the Manitoba Nocturnal Owl Survey way back in 1991 and it was a first of its kind at the time. After 25 years of extraordinary service, Jim and Patsy have decided to hand over the coordination of the program to me and Bird Studies Canada (BSC) has built a portal at http://bsc-eoc.org/birdmon/mbowls/main.jsp to facilitate data entry. We are also working on some added features on the portal too; for example, take a look at http://bsc-eoc.org/birdmon/mbowls/submitdata.jsp to see your route. I hope you can continue to do your NOS route in 2016 in the usual manner – the only difference being that you should now send your results to me or, even better, sign up for a login to enter your data online directly (but don’t worry, if you want to submit paper forms you can continue to do so).
In addition to the new website I mentioned, the forms for the survey are still available at http://www.naturenorth.com/summer/creature/owl/owl_new/owl2005.html. If you are able to do a Nocturnal Owl Survey in 2016, could I ask you to drop me a line or give me a call just to let me know which routes you plan on doing. That would help me keep track of active and new routes. If you would like a new route, also get in touch. If you have not done a nocturnal owl survey before and are interested, please also get in touch. If there are enough interested new participants I may be able to organise a short informal workshop on identifying the calls of Manitoba owls (and a few "sound-alikes" such as Wilson's Snipe).
For those interested, the 2015 annual report is now available at http://www.naturenorth.com/summer/creature/owl/owl_new/1%20-%202015%20Manitoba's%20Owl%20Survey%20Annual%20Report%20-%20Final.pdf. In the report, Jim provides an overview of the history of the Manitoba NOS and talks about future direction. In addition, he provides a synopsis of a recent survey of owl surveyors by graduate student Christopher Ng that is well worth a read.
Happy owling everyone! Photo shows a southern Manitoba Great Gray Owl executing an in-flight turn (going back to where the vole hunting was better apparently).
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Christian Artuso, Ph.D.
Bird Studies Canada - Manitoba Program Manager
cartuso (AT) birdscanada (DOT) org