[CT Birds] The Niche-Switch

Glenn Williams gswilliams9 at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 25 08:46:20 EDT 2010


Since a niche applies to all aspects of an organism's life, there is a major difference in the niches of Broad-winged Hawk and Long-eared Owl - time of year that they are resident in Connecticut.  With this the case, there must be many other less obvious niche differences between them.

I guess your question probably requires an answer more complex than "Nesting happens in summer and Broad-winged Hawks are a summer resident, Long-eared Owl is a winter resident."  I don't know what the complete answer is either.  It doesn't help that Long-eared Owls are so secretive that their nests are difficult to detect.  They nest annually in the state (proven or presumed, Greg?).  I don't believe that there is even one winter record of Broad-winged Hawk in the state.

Glenn Williams

--- On Sun, 4/25/10, Steve Mayo <rsdmayo at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

> From: Steve Mayo <rsdmayo at sbcglobal.net>
> Subject: [CT Birds] The Niche-Switch
> To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
> Date: Sunday, April 25, 2010, 4:55 AM
> Friday I was getting onto the
> Merritt and glanced up at the patch of trees, wondering if
> it held "the" Great Horned Owl nest.  I had seen one at
> this spot (I guess CTBirds norms apply here) occasionally,
> for years.  Just then, a Red-tailed Hawk flew in.  
> That reminded me of Julio de la Torre's excellent 1990 book
> on Owls.  He paired up the nocturnal and diurnal raptors,
> using traits like food, habitat, etc. Some are spot-on,
> such as RT and Great-horned.  Or, the Swamp Hawk and Swamp
> Owl; RS and Barred, respectively.  Others were a bit
> looser, such as American Kestrel and Screech Owl.  
> Further down this slippery slope was the pair, Broad-winged
> hawk and Long-eared Owl.  The former is an
> extremely secretive, but fairly common resident of our
> Connecticut deciduous woods.  My question is, where are the
> breeding Long-eareds?  Why are they not more common as
> nesters?  I know I've researched this somewhat over the
> decades but alas, I've forgotten what I've found. 
> Any comments?
> Steve Mayo
> Bethnay
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