Atlantic Nocturnal Owls Survey

Birds Canada

New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources

Prince Edward Island Department of Natural Resources

Project name: Atlantic Canada Nocturnal Owl Survey

Goals : The goals of this survey are to determine population trends of owls (especially Barred Owls) in Atlantic Canada, to gather location information on rare or little-known owl species (especially Boreal and Long-eared Owls), and to involve volunteer birders from across the region in active wildlife monitoring.

Dataset summary : The dataset consists of detections of noturnal owls along survey routes with stops established at 2km intervals along roadside.

Status : Active

Year started : 2001

Season(s) and frequency : any evening between April 1 and May 15

Frequency : Annually

Geographic area covered : Maritime provinces of Canada

Type(s) of habitat : Mostly forest and forest-agricultural mix

Primary species covered : Focal species is Barred Owl, also of interest are Northern Saw-whet, Great-Horned, Boreal and Long-eared Owls.

Sampling Design : Randomly selected routes

Field methods : Similar to other roadside surveys using tape playback. Two volunteers drive pre-determined route, stopping at fixed intervals (2 km apart in NB and PE, 1.6 km apart in NS) along roadside. At each stop, 2 minutes of silent listenting is followed by playbacks consisting of pre-recorded owl

Data format : MS Access database

Sample size : 104 routes in 2001

Results : Annual reports written and posted on BSC website (

Publications : Whittam, B. 2001a. New Brunswick Nocturnal Owl Survey 2001 Annual Report. Bird Studies Canada, Atlantic Region, Sackville, New Brunswick. 24 pp. Whittam, B. 2001b. Prince Edward Island Nocturnal Owl Survey 2001 Annual Report. Bird Studies Canada, Atlant

Funding sources : BSC, NB Environmental Trust Fund and NB Wildlife Trust Fund; NB Department of Natural Resources

Applications for the data : Counts used for statistical analysis of population trends, location of rare species, and habitat associations

Users of the information : BSC, Departments of Natural Resources, Parks Canada and other conservation organizations, raptor biologists