The owls can be either gray or rufus, and Dr. Fred Gehlbach, research professor of biology at Baylor, says he has observed the rufus phase of the species increasing over the years.
In central Texas, where Gehlbach conducts much of his research, he noticed a dramatic increase in rufus owls after the 1984 record cold winter. He believes as global warming continues, rufus birds will only become more prevalent.
He estimates 20 years ago, rufus owls made up about seven percent of the total population. Now it is closer to 15 percent.
“While gray is still the predominate color of the Eastern Screech Owl, I am seeing more and more rufus owls in places where they are common,” Gehlbach said. “I’m not surprised by it. In fact, it makes sense. They do not have high survival rates where it is cold. As temperatures rise, so does the survival rate.”
The color of the birds is genetically determined. The rufus-phase Eastern Screech Owl is mainly found in hot and humid places in the southern U.S. Gehlbach said its feathers are more porous and adequately dissipate body heat. The feathers of the gray owls are stouter and can protect against colder weather. In low light areas, rufus also is harder to see, decreasing chances a predator will find them. Rufus owls are predominately found in rainy cloudy places.
Gehlbach also said he has observed the owls nesting, or breeding, earlier than before. In central Texas, he has observed them nesting about a day earlier every three years.
Gehlbach has more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, faunal monographs and book chapters. He has written three books on the natural history of the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands, the lifestyles of suburban and rural Eastern Screech Owls, and the natural and unnatural history of suburban central Texas.
Matt Pene | Newswise Science News
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences