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Nov 30, 2009

Survivorship of Rehabilitated Juvenile Tawny owls

Survivorship of Rehabilitated Juvenile Tawny owls from Hawk Conservancy Trust

Research that shows that hard release is just as effective as soft

We investigated the survival of 57 rehabilitated juvenile Tawny Owls (Strix aluco) that were ‘hard released’ (without the provision of a release aviary or support food) by means of radio tracking.

The birds were released in the month of August in three consecutive years: 2005, 2006 and 2007, in the counties of Somerset and Hampshire, United Kingdom. Tracking of the owls was successfully carried out for between three and 160 days. Mortality was recorded for 16 birds(28%). The transmitter was shed by 24 (42%) owls, the signal was lost for 12 (21%) and tracking was ceased for five (9%) owls.

Survival of the owls was compared with results from previous studies on wild Tawny Owls and also rehabilitated ‘soft released’ Tawny Owls (released with provision of food and shelter after release) and found to be similar.

This study suggests that employing costly and time-consuming soft release techniques may be unnecessary for juvenile Tawny Owls as their survival is not significantly reduced using hard-release methods.

Measuring post-release success of rehabilitated birds of prey is discussed in relation to benchmarks used in previous studies.

Developed by:  Hawk Conservancy Trust

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