Breeding attempts (N = 17) in 16 nest boxes at WWF-Italy's "Laguna di Orbetello" Nature Reserve - breeding season 2007

Breeding attempts (N = 17) in 16 nest boxes at WWF-Italy's "Laguna di Orbetello" Nature Reserve - breeding season 2007

Results of the 2007 breeding season

Scops Owls occupied seven nestboxes out of 16 available, i.e. 43,75%. Mean nestbox occupancy in the years 2002-2006 was 5,4/year.

2007 was the second best breeding year for Scops Owls after 2005, when owls occupied nine nestboxes.

Two nests were destroyed by predators, possibly rodents. Predation is a rare event that, before 2007, had been observed just once in 2002.

The five remaining nests, containing 24 eggs in total, were successful. All 24 eggs hatched and no chick mortality was observed.

At least three more Scops Owl nestings in the Nature Reserve occurred in nestboxes designed for other species and not pertaining to the project.

Two pairs nested in big nestboxes for Rollers Coracias garrulus and one in a small open-front nestbox designed for Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata.

Rollers were observed breeding in the Nature Reserve for the first time in 2006 in a Scops Owl nestbox.

Five Scops Owl chicks in nest box no.10

Five Scops Owl chicks in nest box no.10. Broods with five chicks are the most frequently observed. "Laguna di Orbetello" Nature Reserve, July 2007. Picture by D. Centili.

In 2007, the Roller pairs nesting in the Nature Reserve increased to four.

Pairs no.1 and no.2 nested in nest boxes of the Scops Owl project.

Pair no.3 nested in a Scops Owl nest box not pertaining to the project (see picture). This box had been installed by Reserve personnel in June 2007 in a spot where Rollers were frequently seen to encourage them to nest.

Pair no.4 nested in a cavity excavated by Eurasian Green Woodpeckers Picus viridis in a large dead poplar (see picture).

Reproduction of pairs no.1 and no.2 was checked during the project regular nestbox monitoring. In both cases five eggs were laid, producing nine chicks in total that fledged successfully between mid-end July.

There were no empty nest boxes.

For the first time in six years, the same nest box (nestbox no.15) saw an early Hoopoe nest, already concluded by June 10th, and then a Scops Owl nest in quick succession.