Allerton Park Bird Club Podcast

Denver Holt & The Owl Research Institute

December 08, 2020 Evan Smith & Nate Beccue Season 1 Episode 26
Allerton Park Bird Club Podcast
Denver Holt & The Owl Research Institute
Show Notes

Nate and Evan were both really excited for this interview. This week, they sit down via zoom to chat with Denver Holt, founder of the Owl Research Institute.

This week Evan spotted a Rough-Legged Hawk in Piatt County and Denver gives some fabulous tips for ID'ing these birds. As year round residents in Montana, Denver sees these birds often.

Denver begins by telling us how he got interested in birds and specifically owls. This interest pushed him to found the Owl Research Institute. In discussing the Owl Research Institute, he tells us about the Snowy Owl Study that began in 1982. What has he discovered about the relationship between lemmings and Snowy Owls? What are his thoughts on climate change during long term climate projects?

Denver also discusses his Long-Eared Owl Study, in which he has banded 2000+ birds and also his Northern Saw-Whet Owl study.

AND....Denver gives us an update on the Snowy Owl population this year and what we can expect here in the lower 48.

Happy Listening and Happy Birding!

Denver Holt Bio

Denver Holt is a wildlife researcher and graduate of the University of Montana. He is founder and president of the Owl Research Institute, a nonprofit organization located in Charlo, Montana. A dedicated field researcher in North and Central America, Holt believes that long-term field studies are the primary means to understanding trends in natural history. In 2000, he was named Montana's “Wildlife Biologist of the Year“ by the Wildlife Society of North America.

Since 1978, Holt’s focus has been researching owls and their ecology. He has published more than 80 papers and technical documents, including three species accounts for the Birds of North America project. He was also team leader for the Strigidae Family owl species accounts for The Handbook of the Birds of the World, volume 5, covering 189 species of the world’s owls. In collaboration with elementary school teachers, he has co-authored two children’s science books on owls: Owls Whoo Are They, and Snowy Owls. In 2006, he was a chapter author on owls for the book, Arctic Wings, highlighting the birds of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. The forward was written by former United States President, Jimmy Carter. The book has won the prestigious National Outdoor Book Award for Design and Artistic Merit.

When not researching owls, Holt is actively involved in ecotourism as a natural history tour guide and co-owner of Wild Planet Nature Tours ( He also guides private natural history tours, and is a part-time trip leader for Victor Emanuel Nature Tour Company (, the largest nature tour company in the world. To learn more about Holt and his efforts in wildlife research, education, and conservation, visit