Abundance of owls and Bramblings Fringilla montifringilla inrelation to mast seeding in south-eastern Sweden

Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) Science Article 2


We investigated the relationship between mast seeding in beech Fagus sylvaticus and oak Quercus spp., and the occurrence of the rodent-dependent predators Tengmalm’s Owl aegolius funereus, Long-eared Owl Asio otus and Tawny Owl Strix aluco in south-eastern Sweden (Blekinge) 1992-2000. We also compared available data on seed production with data on winter flocks of Brambling Fringilla montifringilla, mainly depending on beech seeds as winter food. Years of good beech mast production were followed by years of high frequency of Tengmalm’s Owl and Long-eared Owl, indicating a rapid numerical response to improved food conditions. The Tawny Owl did not respond in the same way, but tended to reach high densities two years after mast seeding. These results suggest that mast seed production may influence the populations of rodentfeeding predators, and that the numerical response may be very rapid in potentially nomadic specialist predators. This was indicated particularly for the Tengmalm

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