Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 153, Issue 3, pp 691–698 | Cite as

Changing migration patterns of the Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus in Europe: an analysis of ringing recoveries

Original Article

Abstract

Analysis of ring recovery data for Short-eared Owls Asio flammeus spanning 96 years, 1912–2007, identified spatial and temporal differences in migration patterns. Birds with breeding areas or natal origins in the Boreal (principally Fenno-Scandinavia) and Continental (principally central Europe) regions tended to move the greatest distances. Although birds from the North Sea littoral and Britain tended to move shorter distances, recoveries included far eastern Europe (Russia), the Mediterranean and North Africa. Recovery distances showed a marked quadratic relationship with time, generally increasing through to the 1960s and 1970s and then subsequently declining, with the apparent turning point being latest for birds from the Boreal region and upland Britain (areas that retain the strongest populations). Temporal changes in recovery distances appear to be positively related to breeding population density (at least in some areas), but vagaries associated with knowledge of the past and current status of Short-eared Owls in many areas adds difficulty to assessing the validity of such an association. Movements of birds between different breeding seasons suggests considerable potential for connectivity between areas; however, a tendency for reducing distances for such movements since the mid-twentieth century might limit the viability of some ‘populations’ in more southern and fragmented parts of their range.

Keywords

Asio flammeus Migration Density dependence 

Zusammenfassung

Veränderungen im Zugmuster der SumpfohreuleAsio flammeusin Europa: eine Auswertung von Ring-Wiederfunden

Die Auswertung von Ringwiederfunddaten der Sumpfohreule Asio flammeus über einen Zeitraum von 96 Jahren hinweg, von 1912–2007, ergab räumliche und zeitliche Unterschiede in den Zugmustern. Vögel mit Brutgebieten oder Geburtsorten in borealen (im wesentlichen Fennoskandien) und kontinentalen (überwiegend Mitteleuropa) Regionen zeigten tendenziell die weitesten Zugwege. Wenngleich Vögel von der Nordseeküste und aus Großbritannien eher kürzere Strecken zurücklegten, beinhalteten ihre Wiederfunde Osteuropa (Russland), den Mittelmeerraum und Nordafrika. Die Wiederfunddistanzen zeigten eine auffällig quadratische Beziehung mit der Zeit mit einer generellen Zunahme in den 1960er und 1970er Jahren und einer darauf folgenden Abnahme. Zeitlich am kürzesten zurück lag dabei der Wendepunkt für Vögel der borealen Regionen und des britischen Hochlands (Gegenden die die stärksten Populationen beherbergen). Zeitliche Veränderungen in den Wiederfunddistanzen sind offensichtlich (zumindest in einigen Gegenden) positiv mit der Dichte der Brutpopulationen korreliert, aber Unsicherheiten bezüglich unserer Kenntnisse des früheren und gegenwärtigen Status der Sumpfohreulen in vielen Gegenden machen die richtige Interpretation der Bedeutung dieses Zusammenhangs schwierig. Ortsveränderungen von Vögeln zwischen verschiedenen Brutsaisons deuten auf ein beachtliches Potential von Konnektivität zwischen Brutgebieten hin, allerdings könnte die Verkürzungstendenz in diesen Ortsveränderungen seit Mitte des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts die Überlebensfähigkeit einiger “Populationen” in südlicheren und fragmentierteren Teilen des Verbreitungsgebiets limitieren.

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.British Trust for Ornithology (Scotland), School of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK
  2. 2.EURING Data Bank Co-ordinatorBeckinghamUK
  3. 3.Lancaster UniversityLancasterUK

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