Data on mammals were compiled from published studies of common barn-owl (Tyto alba) pellets. Mammalian composition of pellet samples was analyzed within geographic regions in regard to year, mean annual precipitation, latitude, and number of individual mammals in the sample. Percentages of individuals in pellets that were shrews increased whereas the percentages of rodents decreased with greater mean annual precipitation, especially in northern and western areas of North America. From the 1920s through 1980s, in northern and eastern areas the percentage of species that was shrews decreased, and in northern and central areas the percentage of individuals that was murid rats and mice increased. Human alterations of habitats during these seven decades are postulated to have caused changes in available small mammals, leading to changes in the barn-owl diet.
Additional publication details
Trends in North American small mammals found in common barn-owl (Tyto alba) dietary studies