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Most species of owls are nocturnal and are therefore poorly monitored by existing multi-species surveys, such as the breeding bird survey, migration Monitoring, and Christmas bird counts. Information on distribution, abundance, and population trends of Manitoba owls is required to monitor their conservation status.
The Manitoba Nocturnal Owl Survey was initiated in 1991 to obtain information on owl distribution, estimate their relative abundance and trends in their populations and determine habitat associations of owls.
Volunteers conduct surveys for owls in late March or early April. Surveys start no sooner than 30 minutes after sunset, concluding no later than 30 minutes before sunrise. Survey routes are 10 stops spaced 1.6 km. (one mile) apart.