Size of home range of Tengmalm’s owl (Aegolius funereus) males during breeding season assessed by radio-telemetry in the Jizera Mountains, Czechia

Abstract

Animal home ranges are typically characterized by their size, shape and a given time interval and can be affected by many different biotic and abiotic factors. Understanding of animal movements and assessing the size of their home ranges are essential topics in ecology and necessary for effective species protection, especially concerning birds of prey. Using radio-telemetry (VHF; 2.1 g tail-mounted tags) we studied the movements of two Tengmalm’s owl (Aegolius funereus) males during the breeding season 2008 in a mountain area of Central Europe (the Czech Republic, the Jizera Mountains: 50˚ 50’ N, 15˚ 16’ E). We determined their average nocturnal hunting and diurnal roosting home range sizes. The mean hunting home range size calculated according to the 90% fixed kernel density estimator was 251.1 ± 43.2 ha (± SD). The mean roosting home range size calculated according to the 100% minimum convex polygon method was 57.9 ± 15.8 ha (± SD). The sizes of hunting home ranges during breeding in this study coincide with those previously reported by other studies focusing on Tengmalm’s owl males. However, we found the roosting home ranges were smaller in size compared to those previously reported. This result was most probably connected with different habitat structure in our study area, which was severally damaged by air-pollution in the past, thus probably offering fewer suitable hiding-places, for instance from predators. We found the roosting locations were concentrated in the oldest and densest Norway spruce forest patches. We emphasize that these parts of forest stands require the highest possible protection in our study area.

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