Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Date of this Version



"NOU Participation in Academy of Science Meeting," from Nebraska Bird Review (September 1990) 58(3).


Copyright 1990, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.



In 1990, NOU resumed active participation in the Annual Meeting of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences. Mr. Thomas E. Labedz, President of NOU, was chairman of the session, which was held in the afternoon of 20 April. The following papers were presented:

SOLlTARY VS. GREGARIOUS NESTING IN BURROWING OWLS. Martha Desmond and Julie Savidge, Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife, IANR, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583-0819.

In the Great Plains region, Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia) will nest as isolated pairs in abandoned badger burrows, but are most commonly associated with black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) towns. As part of a study investigating the advantages and disadvantages of clumped nesting in Burrowing Owls data was collected on the initial brood size and fledging success of 92 nests in western Nebraska during the spring and summer of 1989. Seventy-seven percent of the nests successfully fledged at least one young. Owls nesting in badger burrows fledged an average of five young per nest (N = 16), whereas Owls nesting in active prairie dog towns fledged an average of 3.12 young per nest (N = 60). The lowest success rate was observed among Owls nesting in abandoned prairie dog towns; these nests fledged an average .88 young per nest (N = 9). Possible explanations for the higher fledging success of Owls nesting in badger burrows include decreased predation rates and less competition for food resources.