The relationship between weather and reproduction of the Barn Owl Tyto alba in a semi-arid agricultural landscape in Israel

Motti Charter*, Ido Izhaki, Kobi Meyrom, Shauli Aviel, Yossi Leshem, Alexandre Roulin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Even though the Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is distributed worldwide, little information is available on how weather affects Barn Owl breeding outside of Europe and North America. For instance, if cold temperatures can negatively influence population dynamics in temperate regions, heat could have a similar negative effect in arid regions. We have studied a breeding population of Barn Owls in a semi-arid agricultural environment over 13 years in Israel in order to determine whether lack of rain and hot ambient temperatures impair Barn Owl reproductive success. The percentage of nest boxes occupied by Barn Owls was not related to any of the weather variables, whereas the number of nestlings per Barn Owl pair and the percentage of pairs that succeeded to fledge young was lower in years when it started to rain later in the season and when the minimum daily temperature was higher during the breeding season. In comparison to temperate regions, heat is detrimental to Barn Owl breeding and early precipitation is probably important in boosting vegetation and, in turn, the abundance of small mammals, the Barn Owl's staple food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-258
Number of pages6
JournalAvian Biology Research
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Funding

FundersFunder number
Addax Oryx Foundation
Hoopoe Foundation
Israel Meteorological Center
Israel Ministry of Agriculture
Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection
Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel
Minerva Center for Movement Ecology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    Keywords

    • Agriculture
    • Biological pest control
    • Breeding biology
    • Israel
    • Rain
    • Temperature
    • Weather

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