Date of this Version
2017. Pp. 64-70.
USDA Wildlife Services airport wildlife biologists have been tasked with reducing the hazards that raptors (including owls) pose to safe aircraft operations at airports and military airfields throughout the USA. A review of available wildlife strike information suggests short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) are frequently struck by aircraft during the winter months at numerous airports within the Lower Great Lakes Region of the United States. Further, this species is listed as ‘endangered’ by state fish and wildlife agencies in many states, although not at the federal level. Consequently, there is particular interest in developing non-lethal management tools for reducing the hazards posed by this species. In an effort to gain a better understanding of the efficacy of managing the hazards to aviation posed by short-eared owls, we developed methods to live-capture, mark with USGS aluminum leg bands, and translocate short-eared owls from airport environments (i.e., airfield areas) as part of the overall programs to reduce wildlife hazards to safe aircraft operations at airports. During 2012−2015, a total of 32 short-eared owls was live-captured, banded, and translocated to release sites approximately 64 to 80 km (40 to 50 miles) away from the airports. Only 1 short-eared owl (3%) was resighted and this bird was found on a different airport from where it had been translocated from. Future research in needed to evaluate the efficacy of translocating wintering short-eared owls from airport environments.