You would think that stable yearly vole populations would be beneficial for owls, but this long-term study has shown that fluctuations in vole populations are much more advantageous for tawny owl populations.

Many other predators rely on small mammal populations such as foxes, weasels and stoats. Additionally, the article suggests that cycles of plant-eating insects may also be dampening, thus there may be a knock on effect on insectivores, such as hedgehogs and insectivorous birds.

The research showed that stable vole populations have more of an effect on owl breeding success than climatic conditions. However, the dampening of vole cycles may itself be affected by warmer wetter winters; a good example of changing climate having knock on effects further up the food chain.