Frequently asked questions for the Tawny Owl Calling Survey

.Can I still take part even if I've missed some weeks of the survey?

Yes, definitely! Whilst the survey runs for 26 weeks it is still valuable to get records from a proportion of these weeks. We would encourage records for six or more weeks at any point during the survey period.

.What is the minimum number of weeks I can record for?

It’s great to record for as many weeks as possible, but don’t worry if you can’t commit to them all. You can make a valuable contribution even if you are only able to provide results for some of the weeks. We would encourage records for six or more weeks across the survey period. If you miss any weeks please leave them blank in the recording form/online system.

.Can I monitor more than one site?

You certainly can. If you’re keen you could always survey more than one site, recording from both your garden and a local park for example. Please make sure at each site the actual location you are recording from remains constant between visits.

.I can hear Tawny Owls but they aren't in my garden/survey site. Can I record them?

Yes, record any Tawny Owls you can hear from your chosen site. The exact location of the Tawny Owl is not important.

.I've heard a Tawny Owl but outside of my survey period for the week. Is there a way of recording this?

Yes, you can record that you've heard a Tawny Owl outside of your survey time. This allows us to get an idea of how effective the survey is at detecting Tawny Owls present around your chosen site. Please note that you do not need to provide time, cloud cover or type of call when recording an owl outside of the survey time. Just tick the box saying 'heard an owl at other times' when submitting your weekly record. 

.Why can I not record details of time and weather conditions when I hear an owl outside the survey time period?

To be able to learn the most from this data we need ensure the same amount of effort (time listening for owls) is provided by everyone submitting data in a given week, and therefore why we restrict the survey to 20 minutes. We will use the recording of other hearings as a useful addition to the data but it isn't the main body of the research. The survey is sequential to the Tawny Owl survey we undertook in 2005 so it is essential that we use the same criteria for both.

.Why do we only listen for 20 minutes a week?

To be able to learn the most from this data we need ensure the same amount of effort (time listening for owls) is provided by everyone submitting data in a given week, and therefore why we restrict the survey to 20 minutes. The survey is sequential to a Tawny Owl survey we undertook in 2005 so it is essential that we use the same criteria for both.

.Why does my survey time have to be before midnight?

There a few reasons why we are asking you to record between sunset and midnight but the most important is that we have used the same criteria as our 2005 Tawny Owl Calling Survey. This means that the results are easy to compare. Tawny Owls are usually more vocal earlier in the evening and therefore it is likely that if you hear a Tawny Owl in the small hours of the morning that you'll also hear them before midnight.  If you don't hear an owl within your survey time but you hear one at another time within a week you can let us know within your weekly data submission. There is a tick box to say that you've heard an owl outside of these times. Please note that you do not need to provide time, cloud cover or type of call when recording an owl outside of the survey time.

.Can I make a recording more than once a week?

To be able to learn the most from this data we need ensure the same amount of effort (time listening for owls) is provided by everyone submitting data in a given week, and therefore why we restrict the survey to 20 minutes per week. The survey is sequential to a Tawny Owl survey we undertook in 2005 so it is essential that we use the same criteria for both. If you don't hear an owl within your survey time but you hear one at another time within a week you can let us know within your weekly data submission. There is a tick box to say that you've heard an owl outside of these times.

.How often should I submit data?

If you are recording online we’d encourage you to submit the data each week, but you can enter multiple weeks together. If you are using paper forms please complete and send in the forms at the end of the survey. If submitting by paper there will also be the option of sending in the first half of the survey (after week 13) early and completing the second half on a separate sheet. This will help us get the data entered into our system quicker though if doing so please ensure that your personal and site details are identical for both sheets. We want to use the data as soon as possible, so please enter/return your data before the end of April 2019.

.If I hear another species of owl can I record it?

This survey is focused on Tawny Owls but you can record other owls through BirdTrack. This survey is part of Project Owl, looking to gain a deeper understanding of owls. You can find out more about our work on other owls at www.bto.org/project-owl.

.How will you use my personal data?

In accordance with the terms and conditions of participating in this survey (presented upon registration online and included on paper forms), we may use your personal details to contact you for the purpose of running this survey. Beyond this, we will handle your personal data in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Website Terms and Conditions of use.

You can control the types of communication you wish to receive from BTO by updating your contact preferences - via your My BTO account settings or by contacting us directly - info [at] bto.org / +44 (0)1842 750050.

.Where can I learn more about Tawny Owls?

You can learn more about Tawny Owls (and our other resident owls) on our Learn About Owls pages, where you will find a whole suite of owl-related resources; these include information on each species, a guide to their calls, nest box designs and (for some species) video identification guides. If there is something that you want to know about owls but can’t find an answer on our website please drop us an email or give us a call.