Ornis Hungarica. vol.27(1). (2019) p.1-31.
Nesting success and productivity of the Common Barn-owl Tyto alba: results from a nest box installation and long-term breeding monitoring program in Southern Hungary
In this study, the results of a long-term nest box installation program of the Common Barn-owl Tyto alba (Scopoli, 1769) in Southern Hungary were evaluated, which program was conducted during a 24-year period (1995–2018). The percentages of occupied nest boxes ranged from 9.72 to 73.44% in the first breeding periods while this varied between 0 and 41.46% in the case of repeated clutches in the same nest boxes with second broods. A total of 1,265 breeding attempts were recorded including 1,020 (80.63%) in the first and 245 (19.36%) in the second breeding periods, from which a total of 210 (16.6%) clutches did not produce any fledglings. The modal clutch size was 7 eggs in both first and second annual clutches. However, the value of productivity was higher in the case of larger clutch sizes and we found significant linear relationship between initial clutch size and fledgling production per nesting attempt in both breeding periods. Significant variation of reproductive parameters was observed among the years. The proportion of egg loss showed significant decline, while the change of hatching success and the variation of annual productivity showed significant slight positive linear trend during the 24 years. Our results suggested that despite the outlier values of reproduction characteristics in the extreme years with negative effect, a relatively stable Common Barn-owl population can be maintained by the placement of nest boxes in the investigated region.