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Nocturnal Owl Survey

Northern Saw-whet Owl Photo: Brock & Sherri Fenton

Owls are directly affected by changes in forests. These important predators are relatively easy to identify, but because they’re nocturnal and nest early in the season, they can be difficult to monitor.

Information on owl distribution and abundance is essential for developing sound conservation strategies, identifying species in need of conservation action, and evaluating the effectiveness of forest management programs.

Through Nocturnal Owl Surveys across Canada, over 1000 volunteers count owls along isolated roads, documenting population trends and breeding range limits. Surveyors enjoy the solitude and peace of these early season events — a precursor to a busy spring.  Many of the surveys have become family traditions with decades of memories shared through the generations.

Birds Canada thanks all the volunteers and conservation partners who support Nocturnal Owl Surveys. Owl surveys begin in February in British Columbia and in mid-March or April everywhere else. If you live near Canada’s great forests consider contacting your regional owl survey program to volunteer.

Barred Owl Photo: Graham Sorenson


Lisa Takats Priestley
Coordinator, Alberta Nocturnal Owl Survey


Atlantic Canada

Amy-Lee Kouwenberg
Coordinator, Atlantic Nocturnal Owl Survey

British Columbia & North

Rémi Torrenta, Ph.D.
BC, Yukon, NT Owl Surveys Coordinator


Tim Poole
Manitoba Volunteer Coordinator


Kathy Jones 
Volunteer Manager, Ontario Program


Andrew Coughlan
Director, Quebec


LeeAnn Latremouille
Saskatchewan Atlas Coordinator