Spatially explicit models depicting species occupancy offer a useful conservation tool for land managers. Using occurrence data collected in 2009 and 2010 from the Boise National Forest, Idaho, we developed distribution models for Flammulated Owls (Psiloscops flammeolus) and Northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) to explore associations between habitat factors and owl occupancy. We then spatially applied these models in a Geographic Information System. We considered land cover and topographic variables at three spatial scales: 0.4-km, 1-km, or 3-km-radius plots centered on point-count locations (n = 150) with resolution of land covers at 30 m. Flammulated Owls occupied 27 (18%) point-count locations and occurred in areas with a higher proportion of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) at the 0.4-km scale, less diverse land cover composition at the 1-km scale, and in south-facing aspects at the 3-km scale. Northern Saw-whet Owls occupied 45 (30%) point-count locations and were associated with relatively flat terrain at the 0.4-km scale that had larger proportions of non-forest land cover. At the 1-km and 3-km scales, Northern Saw-whet Owls occurred in areas with south-facing aspects having a higher proportion of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), respectively. Biologists and land managers interested in the conservation of Flammulated Owls and Northern Saw-whet Owls can use our approach to delineate habitats important for these owls or to help identify locations suitable for restoration.
This document was originally published by the Raptor Research Foundation in Journal of Raptor Research. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.3356/JRR-13-00049.1
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/james_belthoff/41/