Recognizing the habitat potential around Telford Lake for Northern Saw-Whet Owls, Associated Environmental approached the City of Leduc, located south of Edmonton, with the idea of building owl-nesting boxes. The Environmental team offered to build and install the boxes, with materials supplied by the City.
Northern Saw-Whet Owls nest in the cavities of mature trees that are created by other species, such as woodpeckers, so they rely on other species for nesting sites. By constructing and installing owl-nest boxes that mimic tree cavities, we are supplementing the nesting sites that are available to the owls in the Telford Lake area.
The City of Leduc purchased the materials for the boxes and our Edmonton Environmental team volunteered their time and efforts to build ten owl-nest boxes. Braving the -20oC weather, the team installed the nest boxes at various locations around Telford Lake in January.
Telford Lake is located directly west of a regional coulee system, known as the Gwynne Meltwater Channel, which connects several lakes in the area and extends approximately 150 kilometres southeast towards the Village of Alliance.
Associated Environmental staff volunteered their time to construct and install the ten owl-nest boxes to supplement owl nesting sites
This coulee system provides excellent habitat for Northern Saw-Whet Owls, with its mix of treed habitat, riparian areas, and open fields. Over the past four years, for an owl-nest box research program conducted by Environmental Scientist, Brett Bodeux, existing nest boxes in this coulee system have yielded a proportionally high number of owl-nesting occupancies.
Environmental Scientist, April Ziegler, arranged meetings with City of Leduc representatives to plan project implementation and procure materials for constructing the owl-nest boxes. She tells us, “It takes approximately 25 hours to construct and install 10 owl-nest boxes, which cost roughly $250 for materials.”
Constructing the owl-nest boxes also proved to be a unique team building exercise for our Environmental team.
Brett will continue to monitor the nest boxes each year for owl banding opportunities.