banner image

Bird Species of Special Concern

Flammulated Owl
The idea–

Flammulated Owl

The ASC began studying this owl in 2005 when, as part of the Landbird Monitoring Program, we initiated the first Region-wide surveys for Flammulated Owls in Montana and North Idaho. Prior to this, Flammulated Owls had not been adequately surveyed across Forest Service lands in Montana and North Idaho. We developed a monitoring protocol, selected sites via GIS modeling, and surveyed for owls on 12 Forests. We continued this project again in 2008 on those forests that supported important Flammulated Owl populations, so as to gain a better understanding of habitat relationships. Our main goals were to:

  1. Document Flammulated Owl distribution in Region 1 via broadcast surveys and establish presence/non-detection.
  2. Locate owl territories and obtain spatial data for habitat modeling. This will be used to assess specific habitat needs and determine how Flammulated Owls may be affected by land use practices, particularly thinning or logging projects
  3. Continue a portion of survey routes previously established in 2005 and examine owl persistence over time
Flammulated Owl Data Chart
Citizen Science

In 2007 we began a citizen monitoring project to continue these surveys in the greater Missoula, Bitterroot, and Helena areas. For more information on the ongoing Flammulated Owl citizen science project, click HERE.


*Read about our work on Flams in the Ravalli Republic – July 10, 2008



Surveys were conducted on 6 National Forests in Region 1: Bitterroot, Helena, Kootenai, Lolo, Nez Perce, & the Idaho Panhandle. Owl surveys were conducted between May 15th and July 27th, by the use of a broadcast caller designed to invoke responses of nearby owls. Technicians surveyed 109 routes, and a total of 1013 points were included in the analysis.

Flammulated Owl data chart 2


The Nez Perce NF had the highest percentage of routes with owls, while the Kootenai NF had the highest percentage of points with owls. We’ve also written a brief report summarizing our 2 seasons of citizen monitoring for Flammulated Owls. You can use our newly developed geospatial web interface to view the locations of all survey points associated with this program, to query any point to obtain information associated with that point, and to obtain information on the relationship between forest type and probability of occurrence for a the owls.

Annual Reports from this project–


Group Photo

USDA Forest Service Northern Region. The citizen science program was made possible with additional financial support from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, and from the dedication & enthusiasm of citizen scientists from the Five Valleys, Last Chance, and Bitterroot Audubon Society chapters, and with help from Birds & Beasleys of Helena. A heartfelt thanks to all the individuals who generously donated their time and stayed up well beyond their bedtimes to brave the sometimes cold, often wet, and always night conditions in search of owls – we truly couldn’t have done it without you!


Megan Fylling