Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1988

Publication Title

Journal of Field Ornithology








Both visual and auditory stimuli elicit avian mobbing behavior, but there is little comparative information on their isolated and additive effects. Using three combinations of two experimental stimuli (mount and tape of an Eastern Screech-Owl, Otus asio) we tested the effects of stimuli on the frequency, intensity, and duration of avian mobbing behavior. Of 169 mount-only trials, only 11 (6.5%) were successful in attracting birds. Tape-only (n = 169) and mount-and-tape (n = 170) were equally successful in attracting birds (approximately 85% of all trials), but mount-and-tape trials were more likely to initiate mobbing behavior. Birds responding to mount-and-tape trials mobbed more intensely and for longer periods of time than those responding to tape-only trials. All stimuli showed similar increases in effectiveness during the summer months. These results suggest that the presence of an auditory stimulus dramatically increases the probability of an owl being detected by potential mobbers. A visual stimulus, however, provides a focus for antipredator response and results in maximal mobbing behavior. Mobbing may be a more important force is selecting for cryptic diurnal behavior in owls than previously thought.


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Original Publication Citation

Chandler, C. R., & Rose, R. K. (1988). Comparative analysis of the effects of visual and auditory stimuli on avian mobbing behavior. Journal of Field Ornithology, 59(3), 269-277.


0000-0001-9341-1615 (Rose)