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Merlin Bird ID

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    Boreal Owl Life History


    Habitat ForestsLives in boreal forests with spruce, aspen, poplar, birch, and balsam fir. In mountains of West, found in subalpine forests of fir and spruce.Back to top


    Food MammalsSmall mammals, birds, and insects.Back to top


    Nest Placement

    Nest Cavity

    Nest Description

    Nests in tree cavity, usually old woodpecker hole. Adds no nesting material. Also uses nest boxes.

    Nesting Facts
    Clutch Size:1-19 eggs
    Egg Description:White.
    Condition at Hatching:Helpless, eyes closed, covered in white down.
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    Behavior Aerial Dive (ground/talons)Hunts at night from perches.Back to top


    Conservation Low ConcernBoreal Owls are widespread and common in boreal forest, but reliable population estimates not available. They are considered a "sensitive" species in the United States outside of Alaska. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 1.7 million, with 24% living in Canada, and 6% living in the U.S., They rate a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and are not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. Boreal Owls rely on mature and dead trees for nesting sites, and the species is sensitive to clear cutting.Back to top

    Backyard Tips

    Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.

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    Hayward, G. D. and P. H. Hayward. 1993. Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

    Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

    North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

    Partners in Flight. 2017. Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

    Sibley, David Allen. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A Knopf, New York.

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