Newfoundland and Labrador Nocturnal Owl Survey

As top predators, owls are vulnerable to environmental disturbances such as toxins and habitat loss, making them excellent indicators of environmental health. However, due to their secretive nature and nocturnal habits, they are not well monitored by atlas surveys, so specialized methods are needed to ensure their population distribution and abundance are accurately represented in the Atlas.

Volunteers for the Nocturnal Owl Survey sign up to survey one (or more) pre-defined owl survey routes for one night between 1 April and 15 May. Each route consists of 10 stops, separated by 2 kilometers. At each stop, volunteers alternate between timed silent listening periods and playback of owl calls, and record all owls seen or heard. More information about the survey, including a detailed instruction guide, data sheets, and other resources, can be found on the NL Nocturnal Owl Survey website.

There are currently 57 owl routes set up in NL: 53 in Newfoundland, and 4 in Labrador (see the map for route locations). But if there’s no route available near you, don’t despair: we’re working to expand our coverage and are looking to create new routes this year. If you’d like to establish a route near you, get in touch with us at and we will help you set it up!

You can sign up to participate in the Atlantic Canada Nocturnal Owl Survey through Nature Counts.

An Evening of Owls

Watch the recording of our owl webinar to find out about the species found in Newfoundland and Labrador and learn more about how and why to participate in the Nocturnal Owl Survey!


Nocturnal Owl Survey Routes

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