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Barn Owl population dynamics on Nantucket, a remote island at the northern limit of the species’ range

Principal Investigator(s):

Julia Blyth

Institution:

Maria Mitchell Association, Nantucket, MA

Project Term:

2011 - 2012

Global climate change has allowed species’ ranges to change and is responsible for unpredictable weather events that affect these species. We used population trends of the Barn Owl, Tyto alba, on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts to correlate nesting success with severe winter weather. Of the past twenty five winters, five had colder average temperatures and more snow than the others, and these more severe winters had significantly fewer chicks than the mild ones. Although Nantucket is the northern limit of the species’ range, Barn Owls were able to have reproductive success due to the building of nesting boxes in appropriate habitat, but they are still vulnerable to high mortality in years following severe winters.

Project Report: Barn Owl population dynamics on Nantucket

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