Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Huge owls need huge trees

Date:
August 15, 2013
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
The world's largest owl – and one of the rarest – is also a key indicator of the health of some of old-growth Russian forests.

The Blakiston's fish owl, an endangered species, relies on old-growth riparian forest to provide nesting and foraging habitat.
Credit: © Jonathan C. Slaght, WCS Russia.

A study spearheaded by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Minnesota has shown that the world's largest owl -- and one of the rarest -- is also a key indicator of the health of some of the last great primary forests of Russia's Far East.

The study found that Blakiston's fish owl relies on old-growth forests along streams for both breeding and to support healthy populations of their favorite prey: salmon. The large trees provide breeding cavities for the enormous bird, which has a two-meter (six-foot) wingspan. And when these dead, massive trees topple into adjacent streams, they disrupt water flow, forcing the gushing river around, over, and under these new obstacles. The result is stream channel complexity: a combination of deep, slow-moving backwaters and shallow, fast-moving channels that provide important microhabitats critical to salmon in different developmental stages.

The study appears in the August issue of the journal Oryx. Authors include Jonathan Slaght of the Wildlife Conservation Society, R. J. Gutiιrrez of the University of Minnesota, and Sergei Surmach of the Institute of Biology and Soils (Russian Academy of Sciences).

The authors studied the foraging and nesting characteristics of Blakiston's fish owl in Primorye, Russia, where they looked at nesting habitat over 20,213 square kilometers (7,804 square miles). They found that large old trees and riparian old-growth forest were the primary distinguishing characteristics of both nest and foraging sites.

The authors say that management and conservation of old-growth forests is essential for sustaining this species because they are central to the owls' nesting and foraging behavior. Moreover, conservation of Primorye's forests and rivers sustains habitat for many other species: including eight salmon and trout species that spawn there; some of the 12 other owl species found in Primorye; and mammals like the endangered Amur (or Siberian) tiger, Asiatic black bear, and wild boar. Listed as Endangered by IUCN, Blakiston's fish owl is restricted to riparian areas in Russia, China, Japan and possibly North Korea.

"Blakiston's fish owl is a clear indicator of the health of the forests, rivers, and salmon populations," said lead author Jonathan Slaght of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "Retention of habitat for fish owls will also maintain habitat for many other species associated with riparian old-growth forests in the Russian Far East."

Logistical and financial support for this study was provided by the Amur-Ussuri Centre for Avian Diversity, with additional funding from the Bell Museum of Natural History, Columbus Zoo Conservation Fund, Denver Zoological Foundation, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Minnesota Zoo Foundation, National Aviary, National Birds of Prey Trust, United States Forest Service-International Programs, and the University of Minnesota.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jonathan C. Slaght, Sergei G. Surmach, R.J. Gutiιrrez. Riparian old-growth forests provide critical nesting and foraging habitat for Blakiston's fish owl Bubo blakistoni in Russia. Oryx, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S0030605312000956

Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Huge owls need huge trees." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815113327.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2013, August 15). Huge owls need huge trees. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815113327.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Huge owls need huge trees." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815113327.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) — A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) — Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) — An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins