1 Department of Wildlife Ecology and Biodiversity, National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 unknown3 Department of Bioscience - Wildlife Ecology, Department of Bioscience, Science and Technology, Aarhus University4 Department of Bioscience - Wildlife Ecology, Department of Bioscience, Science and Technology, Aarhus University
As predators owls may have a strong impact on mortality of their favourite prey, and may therefore act as important selective agents on their prey species. Little is known, however, about whether owls choose prey randomly or if some prey items suffer a higher risk of predation due to certain life history traits. The aim of this master thesis study was to investigate any prey selection of tawny owls on two prey species, yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) and bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus). Our hypotheses were that the level of exposure might differ between prey items of different sex, age, and size, causing some individuals to suffer a higher risk of predation from tawny owls than others.The results suggest that males suffer a higher risk of predation from tawny owls than females, and that the different age groups may also experience different risk of predation. It also suggests that for yellow-necked mouse, larger individuals are relatively more exposed to fall victim for tawny owls.