Blakiston’s fish owl (Ketupa blakistoni) is a secretive, non-migratory endangered species. It is endemic to northeast Asia, and is one of the largest owls on earth. Based on the limited available literature, there is strong evidence that Blakiston’s fish owls are associated with extremely diverse old-growth riparian forests, and dependent on healthy populations of riverine fish. Similarly to spotted owls in North America, Blakiston’s fish owls are potentially in direct conflict with logging because old-growth forests that fish owls appear to require are also highly valued for lumber and other natural resources.
This project will conduct intensive ecological studies of Blackiston’s fish owls in Primorye, Russia, to determine nest site requirements, habitat requirements, home range size and characteristics, food habits, nesting success and other population parameters. Adequate data collection will rely on capturing and outfitting owls with GPS transmitters, and then conducting intensive, year-round monitoring of these individuals. In addition to information about fish owl habitat use, data on other vertebrate species living in fish owl habitat will also be gathered in order to strengthen the species’ role as a conservation umbrella.
In 2007, the Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program provided funding to this project for the purchase of GPS collars. Current staff champion for this project is Melissa Babich, interpretive naturalist/bird trainer.