Archive for May, 2015

SURROGATE FATHER TO A FAMILY OF GREAT GRAY OWLETS

May 28, 2015

Rancher, conservationists and owl-lovers, Andy Huber and his wife are co-parenting a family of Great Gray Owls. The Hubers own a ranch near Le Grande in northeastern Oregon’s Blue Mountains. This spring a couple of GGOs began raising a family. One tragic morning the Hubers awoke to see Great Gray Owl feathers scattered on the ground…overnight a Great Horned Owl had killed and eaten the male GGO. That left a widowed GGO with a nestful to raise. The Hubers pitched in. Friends loaned them live traps with which to catch small mammals. The adult female quickly learned to grab the offered prey. Many weeks of maturing are ahead of the fledglings but the Hubers persist. Here is a selection of photos of the Huber owls:1.  Mother warm in sunshine 1936 IMG_5808

2.  Mother spread owl 2173 IMG_5622

3.   Mother on ground 2333 IMG_5588

4.  GGO Mother and mouse 1683 IMG_5463

5.  GGO Mother mouse shadow2455  IMG_5414

6.  Here comes mom with food 2294  IMG_5737

7.  Who's next 2216 IMG_5786

8.  Hold on, I almost fell off the limb 2430 IMG_5739

9.  I'll power nap while you eat it 2246 IMG_5744

10. You feed her, I'll fly 2259 IMG_5781

11.  I got it mom 2237 IMG_5685

12.  Mother feeding child 2361 IMG_5684

13.  I'm off to get another 2397 IMG_5688

14.  This is my family now 2342 IMG_5790

15. GGO Mother tree lichen 2195 IMG_5447
There is a quartet of owlets in this family and each can eat four small mammals per day, that’s a lot of huntin’ and trappin’ … for weeks. These youngster will not be effective hunters until very late summer at the earliest. Most abundant prey at that spot right now is kangaroo mice.

My new book on Great Gray Owls of California, Oregon and Washington is now available. Order yours direct from me, $28 plus shipping, over 100 photos and original range maps. More on earlier blog on this website.

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ANOTHER PLATFORM REPORT

May 11, 2015

Another area of public land where there are nest platforms for Great Gray Owls is the Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Klamath County, OR.  Faye Weekley, the biologist there, tells me one of her several platforms is in use this year and has a Great Gray Owl nestling.  As with the western slope of the Cascades and the Klamath Basin, Klamath Marsh seems to have an abundance of small mammals this spring.

Altogether that makes eight platforms in use across the state that I know of.

For information on the new book on Great Gray Owls of California, Oregon and Washington, click here.ggo cover2014 GGO 1GGO-3-1-B

SUCCESS STORY OUT OF LA GRANDE, OREGON

May 10, 2015

I hear from Laura Navarette of the Whiteman-Wallowa National Forest that their field biologists have confirmed six nesting pairs of Great Gray Owls in their thirty-plus nest platforms in the forest. I will be out in La Grande later this week to give a talk on Great Gray Owls in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The talk will be at the dinner for the Ladd Marsh Bird Festival there on Friday.

The Spring Area north of La Grande has the largest and longest-running GGO nest platform program anywhere in the U.S. It’s success is heartening. In our new book on Great Gray Owls, Peter Thiemann and I have included a chart through last spring of the nest platform use rate in Spring Creek. Eight active platforms is the most in one year so far. Occasionally none of the platforms get used. That probably has to do to springs with little or low prey availability. This past winter was wet and mild in the Blue Mountains. That may have spurred the local rodents to greater and earlier reproduction as they would have found plenty of plant food.

Here in Jackson County Rogue Valley Audubon is accepting donations to put up more platforms…so far local birders are monitoring 11 platforms most just erected last fall and winter. We know of at least one successful platform-nesting pair so this far. We’d like to get up more platforms in the coming fall.

For further information on the Spring Creek Great Gray Owl Management Area near Legrande, click here. Harry Fuller will be leading a trip into the area at the Ladd Marsh Festival Saturday morning.

THE GREAT GRAY OWL BOOK

May 8, 2015

Nebulosa Press is proud to announce the publication of Great Gray Owl in California, Oregon and Washington. The book is available to order now.

This book is now available to order through Amazon and some algorhythm working an eighty-hour week will make sure it gets to you, though I am doing the fulfillment myself. Click here to go to the book’s page on Amazon.

This book is now available in Britain and that continent across the channel, Brexit or no. Click here for link.

We would prefer you buy this book directly from us or a local retailer, but fully understand the convenience of click and shop through Amazon though their employment practices apparently leave much to be desired.

Our newest retailers is Raventree, Mt. Shasta’s new birding supply store in Siskiyou County, CA.  This book is also now on sale at Third Street Books in McMinnville, OR, Seattle Audubon’s Nature Store, Portland Audubon’s Nature Shop, the nature stores at Silver Falls State Park and Shore Acres State Park in Oregon, Wild Birds Unlimited in Medford and the Northwest Nature Shop in Ashland, Oregon.  The book will also be found at the store overlooking Tualatin River NWR, north of Sherwood, Oregon.

I will be speaking at the November 8 meeting of the Salem, Oregon, Audubon Society. On October 6th  I will give a talk on the owl and birding I-5 at Third Street Books in McMinnville.

Over 100 full color photos, never before published.GGO-3-1-B

Four original full-color maps showing the species’ disjunct breeding range in the three states of the Pacific Slope. California, for example, has breeding Great Grays in at least four distinct areas with apparent gaps separating each population from the others. This will not look like the range map in your field guide.

Thorough summary of what is known and unknown about the birds in this area which is the southernmost extent of their range.

Information on the habitat where Great Grays are now breeding and most likely to be seen.

Complete bibliography.

First-ever publication of data on the species’ use of man-made nest platforms in Oregon.2014 GGO 1

If you like owls you’ll love this book. Co-authors Peter Thiemann (also the photographer) and Harry Fuller spent many hours with the owls during nesting season and in the colder months. Also dozens of field biologists and owl experts across the Western U.S. were interviewed as much of what’s known about this elusive species has never been published.

ggo coverOrder from: Nebulosa Press, 820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville Oregon. 97128.

GGO BARCODE
Hardbound. 226 pages. Price $28 plus shipping & handling cost OF $5.86.

The book is now licensed so that maps can be used on Wikipedia’s Great Gray Owl entry.

Here are the range maps from this book, feel free to use and copy. Please give us credit as these are original maps based on our research.  I hope in twenty years new maps will show that there are owls in some of the interstices and that the species is thriving.great_gray_owl_range-california_2015great_gray_owl_range-eastern_oregon_2015great_gray_owl_range-washington_state_2015great_gray_owl_range-western_oregon_2015

email: atowhee@gmail.com

Fuller’s previous birding book is Freeway Birding. It describes the best birding places along Interstate 5 and connector routes from San Francisco to Seattle. Click here to order a copy.FBCov1+inWEB