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Introducing Project ROAM

As our Project WAfLS comes to an end, we’re moving on to our next phase of Short-eared Owl monitoring and conservation work.

Introducing, Project ROAM – Reducing Owl Agricultural Mortality!

IBO is launching a research project on reducing Short-eared Owl mortality in agricultural fields. Our initial focus is on alfalfa fields. Alfalfa is the number one crop in Idaho from an acreage perspective (4.8x more than potatoes!) and our past research has shown that Short-eared Owls have a high affinity for it.

a view of gray downy owl nestlings and a few eggs
Short-eared Owl nest, Lemhi County, Idaho. Photo by Ben Wright

Project ROAM has Two Primary Objectives:

  1. Evaluate the effectiveness and cost of using thermal imaging drone technology to discover Short-eared Owl nests prior to alfalfa harvest.
  2. Evaluate the effectiveness and cost of various nest protection mechanisms on Short-eared Owl nests

We need your help!

We welcome your March and April Short-eared Owl observations, particularly in and around alfalfa fields across all of southern Idaho.

We welcome sightings any time of day, but Short-eared Owls are most active and easily identifiable in the evening (1.5 hours before darkness, continuing until darkness). For all reports, we will follow up with the landowners to negotiate participation (no trespassing please).

The greatest thing about this project is that we are not just helping the species in general, but we are directly helping the individual birds in your area! WOW, pretty cool!

Short-eared Owl in Camas County, Idaho. Photo by Rob Miller

Please submit your sightings privately to Rob Miller.

GPS coordinates are great, but not necessary. However, we do need sufficient directions to the individual field so that we may reach out to the landowners. To protect the birds and the privacy of the landowners, your sightings will only be used for this project and will not be shared with others.