Activity patterns of nesting Mexican Spotted Owls

David K. Delaney, Teryl G. Grubb, Paul Beier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We collected 2,665 hr of behavioral information using video surveillance on 19 Mexican Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) pairs between 25 April and 26 July 1996. Prey deliveries per day increased as the nesting season progressed, with an average of 2.68 prey deliveries during incubation, 4.10 items during brooding, and 4.51 items during the nestling phase. The highest delivery rates were concentrated between 1-3 hours before sunrise (02:00-05:00) and 1-3 hours after sunset (18:00-21:00). Trip duration during diurnal hours increased 14 fold from incubation through the nestling phase, compared with a 7.2 fold increase during nocturnal hours. Nest bout duration decreased during both diurnal (36%) and nocturnal hours (76%) across the nesting season. Nest attentiveness decreased as the nesting season progressed, from 97% during the incubation phase to 47% during the nestling phase. Owls attended nests at higher rates during diurnal hours than nocturnal hours across all nesting phases. Activity patterns of Mexican Spotted Owls showed marked cyclical changes in response to ecological factors. Fluctuations in nesting behavior were related to changes in nesting phase and time of day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1999


  • Activity patterns
  • Mexican Spotted Owl
  • Nest attentiveness
  • Nesting behavior
  • Prey delivery rates
  • Strix occidentalis lucida
  • Video surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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