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Adult Scops Owl Otus scops. Picture by B. D'Amicis
The Scops Owl Otus scops is the only long-range migratory European owl.
The migration to the winter quarters in the African savannah entails a flight of thousands of km over the Mediterranean sea and Sahara desert.
Scops Owls are in many aspects the least studied owl species in Italy and their trans-saharian migration is a very interesting and yet not well understood phenomenon.
Banding Stations (red dots) for migratory owls in the United Stated and Canada. Click the image for a larger view (image taken from the Internet website Project Owlnet)
Since the 1970es dozens of owl banding stations, located mostly in Canada and the Eastern United States, have banded over 50,000 owls, most of which are Northern Saw-whet Owls Aegolius acadicus.
At first, captures were effected by "passive" mist-netting. Starting in 1986, banding stations began employing a tape-recorded audiolure (Northern Saw-whet Owl territorial song broadcast from dusk to dawn in the trapping area) that increased significantly the capture rate.
Most North American stations participate in the cooperative network Project Owlnet.
Picture by S. Fasano
In 2002 and 2003 a banding station designed for the capture of Scops Owls Otus scops was created in Central Italy to see if playback would increase captures of this species during migration.
Go to the Orbetello banding station