Methods of studying owls by voices and pellets

Owls are a difficult bird to observe and study in the wild. The majority of them are completely nocturnal. Silent flight and secretive behavior are crucial factors to getting to know them.

Ornithologist, Leonid Pokrytyuk, explained why it is easier to hear owls in the wild than to see them during one of the most recent ecological and educational classes at the Berehovo volunteer center “Everyone Can Help.”

Because sound communications are a part of every aspect of these birds’ lives, as he mentioned, they have a tremendously diverse vocal repertoire. This includes finding a mate, making vocal contact with neighbors and young, and delineating one’s territory during the breeding season.

Mr. Leonid introduced the Transcarpathian owls’ voices to the center’s visitors using sound reproduction equipment. He discussed the eating preferences of each species and displayed their exterior distinctions on tables with themes.

Valuable information about the nutrition of owls can be revealed by analyzing the contents of their pellets. Owls do not chew their food because they lack teeth, therefore they simply swallow it. The birds then regurgitates the undigested solid food in the shape of small, elongated or round items, which are the product of birds’ lives and are generated in their stomachs after they eat, for instance, rodents. Pellets are these undigested remains (such as wool and bones). This information makes it possible to properly determine the food of the bird of prey and discover the diversity of small mammal species. The method of analyzing the nutrition of birds using pellets is advantageous in that it doesn’t hurt the animals in any way.

The event took place within the framework of the cooperation of the Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies- IERS (headed by Alexander Bokotey) and the Nature Conservation Union of Germany (NABU BundesverbandNABU International), project coordinators –  Ivan Tymofeiev (NABU),  and financially supported by VGP Foundation.

Informational Service of IERS

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