RARE OWLS have been founding nesting in the Záhorie region as ornithologists first discovered nesting pairs of short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) near the town of Skalica as well as near Moravský Svätý Ján. Later two male European scops owls (Otus scops) were discovered in Prievaly and Kuchyňa, according to Michal Noga of the Raptor Protection in Slovakia organisation. The SITA newswire wrote that both species are among the rarest birds nesting in Slovakia.
The short-eared owl dwells primarily in northern Europe and tends to come to Slovakia in winter, especially when there are plenty of common voles in the fields. “But the last time they stayed after winter to nest here was in 1998,” Noga said, adding that his group was happy to find the nests in the Záhorie region of western Slovakia.
Scops owls are somewhat more numerous as the number of nesting pairs in Slovakia is estimated at 10 to 25 but none had ever been recorded in Záhorie region, SITA wrote, adding that the two male owls in the Small Carpathians represent a good sign but it has not been determined if they are actually nesting there.
“There are 12 species of owls in Slovakia and ten of these do nest here. It is quite difficult to monitor owls due to their night-time activity,” Noga told SITA.