Date of Graduation

Fall 2018


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Janice Greene


barn owl, barred owl, southwestern Missouri, nesting success, nesting biology, nest boxes, habitat preference

Subject Categories



The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is a cavity-dwelling species and has been known to inhabit both natural and artificial cavities, such as nest boxes. The Barn Owl has a global distribution and can be found as far north as British Columbia and as far south as South America. They have a stable population in the United States; however, although generally stable in the United States, Missouri populations have experienced recent declines, prompting their listing as a species of special concern. In order to assist conservation efforts, land cover needs to be assessed to determine where it is best to place nest boxes. This study sought to assess nesting success and whether land cover influenced the presence or absence of Barn Owls. Nine nest boxes at 8 locations were set up in and around Bois d'Arc Conservation Area, Bois d'Arc, Missouri. The boxes were monitored from February to October 2017. Using ArcGIS and aerial images obtained from the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP), I cateforized the different land covers as: cropland, forest, grassland, hay, shrubland, water, urban, and barren. Though statistical analyses could not be performed due to small sample size, there were a few trends observed. Cropland was the dominant habitat category among all nest sites. Trends also suggests that Barn Owls prefer habitats with a range of 18.97-25.62% of forest, even when forest was available in a range of 9.81-49.52%. Of the 9 boxes, 4 hosted Barn Owl pairs. Clutch size varied from 5 to 8 eggs, but on average only 4 owlets fledged.


© Samantha Ann Meilink

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