The Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) is one of the most common and widespread species of owls in Ukraine. However, by the moment there had no works generalizing the data on its numbers and distribution in the country during the winter period. It is exactly the issue this post is dedicated to.
To analyze the number and distribution of the Long-eared Owls in Ukraine there have been used literary sources*, personal observations of authors and communications of other ornithologists. The data mainly for the years 2000-2009 were analyzed. However, for particular territories also observations of the previous decade were used. The list of identified wintering sites of the Long-eared Owls can be found in the attached file [in Russian].
As it is known, the Long-eared Owls typically form concentrations in winter on day roosting sites, numbering dozens and even hundreds of birds (Priklonsky, Ivanchev 1993). However, the adaptive significance of this phenomenon is not completely revealed (Pukinsky, 1977).
The wintering sites of the Long-eared Owls in Ukraine cover practically the whole territory, except for mountainous regions of the Carpathians and Crimea. In the Carpathians, wintering grounds of this species were rarely observed at low altitudes, where the birds had penetrated along the wide river valleys. In particular, in the winter of 1989 the bird concentration was observed in Yaremcha City (ca. 650 m above sea level). The exteme points of wintering sites, where the birds approach to the foothills of the Crimea, are the village of Urozhayne (Simferopol district), the village of Zuya (Bilohorsk district) (V.N. Kucherenko, pers.comm.). Read the rest of this entry »