OA 102: Owl community structure and resource parititioning on the Welder Wildlife Refugeies
September 2023 - May 2026
As a taxonomic group, owls are some of the poorest understood avian species in North America due to their nocturnal behavior. This is especially the case for woodland owls for which it is challenging to inventory and difficult to document nest site and habitat use. Ecological information on multi-species owl community structure in terms of species overlap, exclusion, or resource partitioning is especially lacking. This hampers identification of population trends or addressing questions of fluctuations in distribution or phenology associated with a changing climate. This graduate fellowship will support a student at the Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Refuge in San Patricio County, Texas 1) determine owl species-specific densities the refuge, 2) locate nest sites to assess nesting habitat associations, spatial distributions, and extent of overlap of owl species, 3) monitor productivity and nesting success of each species, and 4) determine and compare prey use and partitioning among species.