Does nest box location and orientation affect occupation rate and breeding success of barn owls tyto alba in a semi-arid environment?

Motti Charter*, Kobi Meyrom, Yossi Leshem, Shaul Aviel, Ido Izhaki, Yoav Motro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

To date, nest orientation and location in hole-nesting birds have been studied mainly in temperate regions and in diurnal cavity breeders. Here we studied the effect of exposure, orientation, and habitat on nest box occupation and breeding success of Barn Owls in a semi-arid environment. The occupation of nest boxes varied with exposure and orientation. A higher percentage of occupation and more Barn Owl nestlings per breeding attempt were found in nest boxes located in the shade than in the sun, and in those facing east/north rather than other directions. The temperature in the nest boxes varied, being lowest in those located in the shade and in those facing east. Nest boxes located in crop fields fledged more young per breeding attempt than those located in date plantations. We suggest that the higher nest box occupation and number of nestlings fledged was probably due to the lower temperatures in those boxes, an important factor in a hot/arid environment, although alternative explanations are also considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-119
Number of pages5
JournalActa Ornithologica
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Keywords

  • Barn Owl
  • Tyto alba
  • breeding success
  • exposure
  • nest box
  • nestlings
  • occupation
  • orientation
  • semi-arid

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