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Author: Ellie Armstrong

AKN Portals

An AKN Portal is an online data and resource hub designed to preserve, discover, deliver, and summarize information for particular bird conservation needs and objectives. The AKN is comprised of a network of portals.

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Grid Maps

Each state has a map for each grid to help surveyors navigate to their survey location. These maps are georeferenced and can be loaded into a smartphone through the apps such as AvenzaMaps, they also have coordinates printed on them which can be used with a GPS for reference. Select the state you will be surveying in below to find the map for your selected grid. CLICK HERE for instructions on how to use Avenza.









CLICK HERE to download a KMZ file for all of the survey grids. KMZ files can be viewed in free programs such as Google Earth to help you better locate and plan your survey route.


2017 WAFLS Identification Guide (image)

This Identification Guide provides some helpful hints for use in the observation and identification of Short-eared Owls. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PDF.

Watch the training videos listed below for detailed information on an overview of the project, the protocol, how to set up and successfully complete a survey, identification tips and how to enter your data.

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Protocols and Data Sheet

2018 WAFLS Survey Protocol (image)

Learn and review all the details for how to collect data and complete a successful survey with this year’s protocol. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL PROTOCOL.

During a survey, you will be collecting all of your data on a project datasheet. CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND PRINT A DATASHEET.

To extract the most value from the collected data, it is crucial that survey start times and end times are strictly adhered to. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SET START TIME FOR YOUR SURVEY GRID AND DATE.

Once your data have been collected they must be entered so that they can be used. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE DATA ENTRY PAGE.

If you would like to bring a handout along with you on your survey to provide information about the project to anyone you might see CLICK HERE TO VIEW, DOWNLOAD, AND PRINT A HANDOUT.

WAfLS Project Overview

Project WAfLS was an eight-state program designed to assess the population status, trends, and threats against the Short-eared Owl, an enigmatic, open-country species. Project WAfLS engaged enthusiastic citizen-scientist volunteers across the west to gather critical survey data, enabling a rigorous assessment of the status of this species. Our results have directly influenced high-value conservation actions by state and federal agencies, and our volunteers were rewarded with training and experience in critical observation, the scientific method, data collection, and regularly reporting unique and exciting observations.

The data collected by citizen scientists have helped develop the  Short-eared owl Occupancy Prediction map. This will help land managers and conservationists to predict where short-eared owl populations may occur due to climate change impacts.  Click here to access the map.


About & Status of the Short-eared Owl

Miller et al 2018 SEOW Annual Report short-eared owl cropped (image)The Short-eared Owl is an open-country, ground-nesting species found in marshes, grasslands, shrublands, and tundra across North America and around the world. They feed on small mammals (e.g. mice, voles, shrews), but sometimes they take birds. They are ground nesters, nesting in grass mounds. They are nomadic moving nesting sites based on prey abundance. Areas with high prey abundance can have colonies of nesting owls.  Short-eared Owls perform beautiful, elaborate courtship displays during spring evenings (click here to watch Neil Paprocki’s video of the owl’s courtship display).

Evidence suggests that owl populations are experiencing long-term, range-wide, substantial declines in North America, and the National Audubon Society Climate Program has classified the species as “Climate-Endangered”.

State status for the short-eared owls:
Species of Greatest Conservation Need – CA, ID, OR, WA, WY (currently be evaluated in UT for SGCN)
Species of Conservation Priority – NV
Species of Greatest Inventory Need – MT

For more information about the Short-eared Owl visit the All About Birds Website.  

For information about the short-eared owl citizen science project click here.