Boreal Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl


Starting in 1982, we have been conducting studies of the population and breeding ecology of the following small forest owls:

  • Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)
  • Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus)
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadius)
  • Northern Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma)
  • Flammulated Owl (Otus flammeolus)

Several of these owls are Potential or Current Species of Special Concern in Montana.

These owls are cavity nesters, meaning that they site their nests in holes of dead or deteriorating trees. Without these cavities, the owls cannot breed.

We plan to expand this study into a comprehensive, long-term research program, with the following objectives:

  • to determine critical nesting habitat requirements (forest characteristics)
  • to assess nest cavity requirements (tree species and size, cavity size and quality)
  • to collect data on nesting (clutch size, incubation, and fledging)
  • to assess the efficacy and/or possibility of nest boxes (nesting success)
  • to communicate findings to government agencies and the public.

This information will help maintain viable populations of these small forest owls.

To donate to the Cavity Nesting Project, click here.



The Owl Research Institute is dedicated to owl research, eEducation and conservation.
(406) 644-3416