HOW DID WORLD RECORD BREAKER GET HIS GREAT GRAY?

November 28, 2015

Noah Strycker came to the expert when he wanted to add15. GGO Mother tree lichen 2195 IMG_5447 Great Gray Owl to his year list as he was on his way to setting his global record for most birds seen in a calendar year.  Noah has topped 5000 species.  Here’s his blog about finding Great Gray Owls with co-author Peter Thiemann.

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CLIMATE CHANGE TALK–HERE’S MY BIBLIOGRAPHY

October 10, 2015

I speak about western birds and climate change at 530pm in Hannon Library at Southern Oregon University, Ashland, Oregon on the night of October 15th. Talk is free.

CLIMATE CHANGE: A SELECTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR PACIFIC COAST BIRDERS This bibliography include articles and books that deal with species outside the Avian clan but changes in moose or monarch populations, or diseases in forest trees cannot be isolated from similar or related affects on birds.

Alaska’s spruce bark beetle crisis:
http://forestry.alaska.gov/insects/sprucebarkbeetle.htm

Amphibian decline:
http://amphibiaweb.org/declines/declines.html

Aridity:
A Great Aridness. William de Buys.

All the Wild That Remains. David Gessner. Book describes the environmental thoughts of Stegner and Abbey and author visits sites they knew and loved.

When the Rivers Run Dry. Fred Pearce.

Avian keratin disorder:
http://atowhee.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/freak-beak/
I am investigating an epizootic of similar bill deformities in Alaska. This epizootic has recently spread to the Pacific Northwest, with a large cluster of bill deformities appearing in the Puget Sound region. Birds affected by this ‘avian keratin disorder’ have bills that are abnormally long and often crossed, such as in this nuthatch. We’ve determined that the keratin layer of the beak (like the material in a person’s fingernails) is growing too rapidly. Despite extensive testing, we still don’t know what’s causing the problem. We’ve documented beak deformities among a large number of species, including chickadees, crows, nuthatches, jays, woodpeckers, ravens, and several raptors. We are very interested in receiving reports of any birds with abnormal bills such as this one. Please visit our website at the USGS Alaska Science Center or contact me directly:
http://alaska.usgs.gov/science/biology/landbirds/beak_deformity/index.html
–Colleen Handel
Research Wildlife Biologist
USGS Alaska Science Center
cmhandel@usgs.gov

Beetle infestation:
Empire of the Beetle. Andrew Nikiforuk.
Birds as sentinel species: “Canaries in a Global Cole Mine?” pp. 1337-1338. “Ecology” 88(5), 2007. Review of the book Birds and Climate Change by Moller et al. Elsevier. Burlington, Mass. 2006.

Bobcat-lynx hybrids:
http://www.nrri.umn.edu/lynx/information/hybrid.html

Bumble bee evolution right now: Functional mismatch in a bumble bee pollination mutualism under climate change. Authors: Nicole E. Miller-Struttmann, Jennifer C. Geib, James D. Franklin, et al. Science 25 September 2015: 1541-1544. [DOI:10.1126/science.aab0868] Researchers write: “We found that in two alpine bumble bee species, decreases in tongue length have evolved over 40 years. Co-occurring flowers have not become shallower, nor are small-flowered plants more prolific. We argue that declining floral resources because of warmer summers have favored generalist foraging, leading to a mismatch between shorter-tongued bees and the longer-tubed plants they once pollinated.”

California climate change:
http://www.climatechange.ca.gov/climate_action_team/reports/
http://oehha.ca.gov/multimedia/epic/ [this contains list of all state’s climate change reports]

California’s official West Nile Virus website:
http://westnile.ca.gov/wnv_basics.htm

California West Nile infection map:
http://westnile.ca.gov/latest_activity.php

Carbon tetrachloride still being emitted:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/23/ozone-depleting-compound-found_n_5701157.html

Center for Biological Diversity:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/index.html

Christmas Bird Count Analysis:
WWW.audubon.org/bird/bacc/species.html

Climate change anxiety:
http://www.care2.com/causes/climate-change-anxiety-and-how-we-can-become-climate-resilient.html

Climate change disagreement, not debate:
“How to Talk About climate Change So People Will Listen. By Charles Mann. “The Atlantic,” Sept., 2014.

Climate Peril: The Intelligent Reader’s Guide to Understanding the Climate Crisis. By John Berger. Northbrae Books. 2014.

Coal use worse than we’ve been told:
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28942403

Coal burning waste:
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/coalvswind/c02d.html

Coffee:
“Climate for Coffee” in “National Geographic” magazine. Sept. 2015.

Extinction
Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. Elizabeth Colbert. Henry Holt. 2014.

Extinctions predicted:
“Extinction risk from climate change” letter in Nature 427, 145-148 (8 January 2004) | doi:10.1038/nature02121; Received 10 September 2003; Accepted 13 October 2003, By Chris Thomas, et al.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v427/n6970/full/nature02121.html

Feral. George Monbiot. Penguin. 2013. Argues for helping all animals and plants find space for survival.
Website for book: http://www.monbiot.com/2013/05/24/feral-searching-for-enchantment-on-the-frontiers-of-rewilding/

Greenhouse gas list, according to IPCC:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPCC_list_of_greenhouse_gases

Greenland ice sheet loss accelerates:
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28852980

Grizzly-Polar Bear Hybridization
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/magazine/should-you-fear-the-pizzly-bear.html?

Health hazards with climate change:
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/health.html

IPCC report, Fall, 2014:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2014/08/26/climate-change-report-united-nations/14638079/

Christina Larson “Hostile shores”
Science 9 October 2015: 150-152. [DOI:10.1126/science.350.6257.150]. Describes environmental degradation of marshlands used by Asian migrant birds.

Methane from rice:
http://www.ghgonline.org/methanerice.htm

Methane sources:
http://epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/ch4.html

Minnesota moose population:
http://www.startribune.com/local/270761141.html

Moose population decreases:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/15/science/earth/something-is-killing-off-the-moose.html

Monarch migration and species hybrids on NPR’s “On Point:”
http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/08/20/monarch-butterflies-migration-climate-change

Monarch population decline:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/140819-monarch-butterfly-milkweed-environment-ecology-science/

Monarch population decline covered by “Living on Earth,” of NPR:
http://www.loe.org/shows/shows.html?programID=14-P13-00026

Monterey pine disease:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_pitch_canker

Mountaintop species and climate change:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/mountaintop_species/index.html

National Wildlife Federation, on adaptation to climate change:
http://www.nwf.org/climate-smart

Oak sudden death:
http://www.suddenoakdeath.org/

Ocean acidification effects on marine life:
http://oceana.org/en/our-work/climate-energy/ocean-acidification/learn-act/effects-of-ocean-acidification-on-marine-species-ecosystems
“PATHOLOGY ASSOCIATED WITH WEST NILE VIRUS INFECTIONS IN THE YELLOW-BILLED MAGPIE (PICA NUTTALLI): A CALIFORNIA ENDEMIC BIRD”
Holly B. Ernest, Leslie W. Woods and Bruce R. Hoar
Journal of Wildlife Diseases Apr 2010, Vol. 46, No. 2 (April 2010) pp. 401-408
M

Moller, Anders, et al. (eds). Feeling the Heat. Elsevier, Burlington, MA. 2006.

Pepperwood Preserve climate change studies:
http://app.pepperwoodpreserve.org/pls/apex/f?p=514:10:7789024140228

Pine beetles:
http://e360.yale.edu/feature/whats_killing_the_great_forests_of_the_american_west/2252/

Rising land:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-21/epic-drought-in-west-is-literally-moving-mountains.html

Solar power installation kills birds:
http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2014/08/22/pecking-order-energys-toll-on-birds

Starfish die-off on Pacific Coast:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/scientists-zero-whats-causing-starfish-die-offs/

Tricolored Blackbird Population Crisis
http://ca.audubon.org/newsroom/press-releases/2014/california-fish-and-game-commission-considers-emergency-listing-tricolo
Urban heat islands:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/20/urban-heat-island-effect-us-cities_n_5696009.html?

Warming hiatus:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/atlantic-ocean-slows-global-warming-but-scientists-believe-hiatus-will-end-around-2030-1.2743216?cmp=fbtl

White-tailed Ptarmigan’s future:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/white-tailed_ptarmigan/map.html
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/white-tailed_ptarmigan/
World Health Organization on climate change, starvation and disease:
http://www.who.int/topics/climate/en/

GREAT GRAY OWL NEST RESEARCH IN CALIFORNIA

August 19, 2015

Here’s link to site about my book on the Pacific Slope Great Gray Owls.

The Institute for Bird Populations has just published a study of all known Great Gray Owl nest sites in Yosemite area of the Sierra Nevada. Here is the official citing for the article: Wu, J.X., R.B. Siegel, H.L. Loffland, M.W. Tingley, S.L. Stock, K.N. Roberts, J.J. Keane, J.R. Medley, R. Bridgman, and C. Stermer. 2015. Diversity of nest sites and nesting habitats used by Great Gray Owls in California. Journal of Wildlife Management 79:937-947.

It cost me $38 to see the whole thing so I will give you a summary.

As I found when writing my Great Gray Owl book this species is NOT a strictly montane bird, nor is it confined to conifer forests. It may now be most likely there because we humans have driven them out of valleys and more oak-dominated terrain like the Sacramento and Willamette River Valleys where they may have nested three centuries ago.

One-fifth of the nests in this study were found below 1000′ in elevation.

30% of nest trees were oaks, large oaks, within conifer stands.

The GGO prefers well-rotted trees beneath a fairly dense canopy. Message to land managers: don’t rip down all your old, rotting oaks or Doug-fir.

Many of the preferred nest snags lasted about five years after the first nesting use. Good naturally occuring nest trees are ephemeral

Slowly deteriorating trees like incense-cedar and sugar pines are not used for nesting.

This study included no man-made platforms which are frequently used by Oregon populations of GGOs, both in the Wallowa Mountains and southern Cascades.

This study covered 56 nest sites in the California Sierra confirmed between 1973 and 2014. The southernmost one is on the Tulare-Fresno County border. That’s the southernmost GGO nest in the known world.GGO PLUS OWLET2 (1280x960)This picture shows female with owlet in nest that was probably originally built by Ravens, not in a rotted out, broken tree trunk as most often found in Yosemite area. The pictured nest was used only once in the southern Cascades of Oregon. One of the two owlets survived fledging from this nest in a ponderosa.

GREAT GRAY OWL PRESENTATION

July 27, 2015

I will be giving a talk on Oregon’s Great Gray Owls in Ashland next month. Here’s the press release from the Ashland Library:

Harry Fuller “… will be discussing his book and tales of birding on Thursday, August 13 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ashland Branch Library, 410 Siskiyou Boulevard.GGO mother flying prey face 5184 IMG_7625

“Great Gray Owls are one of the most mysterious and sought-after bird residents of California, Oregon, and Washington. Even though it is the tallest owl in North America, and notoriously approachable by humans, the Great Gray is hard to find. Biologists surveying for other species may happen accidentally on the owl, but finding it intentionally isn’t easy due to its nocturnal habits, excellent camouflage, and silent flight. Despite high breeding concentrations in the Wallowa Mountains of Oregon, Great Grays are of conservation concern to wildlife managers in Oregon due to declines in the overall population and loss of habitat.

“Fuller is author of Freeway Birding, San Francisco to Seattle, about birds found within 20 miles of interchanges. He has taught numerous classes at the Klamath Bird Observatory, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and North Mountain Nature Park in Ashland.

“This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Ashland Public Library. For more information, please call contact the Ashland Branch Library at 541-774-6996 or visit jcls.org.”5.  GGO Mother mouse shadow2455  IMG_5414

The photo is this blog was taken by Andy Huber on his ranch near La Grande, Oregon. Huber has been helping a widowed female owl feed her four fledglings. He has been live-trapping small mammals and releasing them near the adult and young owls so they can re-catch their prey. They will not eat animals previously killed.

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.

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

GREAT GRAY OWL NEIGHBORS

February 24, 2015

Here is a list of some of the many species we know share living space with Great Gray Owls in some portions of the owl’s range across California, Oregon and Washington State:

[* indicates evidence that this species can be prey for a Great Gray Owl]
BIRDS:
Canada Goose                                   Branta canadensis

Common Merganser                      Mergus merganser

California Quail

Mountain Quail*

Ruffed Grouse

Sooty Grouse

Dusky Grouse

Bald Eagle                                                            Haliaectus leucocephalus

Spotted Sandpiper                                          Actitis macularius
Wilson’s Snipe                                   Gallinago delicata

Spotted Owl                                                       Strix occidentalis

Boreal Owl                                                          Aegolius funereus

Northern Pygmy-Owl                     Glaudicium gnoma

North Saw-Whet Owl                     Aegolius acadius

Vaux’s Swift                                                       Chaetura vauxi

Lewis’s Woodpecker                      Melanerpes lewis

Williamson’s Sapsucker                 Sphyrapicus thyroideus

Red-naped Sapsucker                    Sphyrapicus nuchalis

White-headed Woodpecker       Picoides albolarvatus

Hairy Woodpecker                                          Picoides villosus

Black-backed Woodpecker                          Picoides arcticus
American Three-toed Woodpecker     Picoides dorsalis

Northern Flicker                                               Coalptes auratus

Pileated Woodpecker                    Dryocopus pileatus

Olive-sided Flycatcher                   Contopus cooperi

Western Wood-Pewee                 Contopus sordidulus

Willow Flycatcher                                             Empidonax traillii

Dusky Flycatcher                                              Empidona oberholseri

Cassin’s Vireo                                    Vireo cassinii

Clark’s Nutcracker                                           Nucrifraga columbiana

Gray Jay                                                               Perisoreus canadensis

Steller’s Jay                                                        Cyanocitta stelleri

Western Scrub-Jay                                          Aphelocoma californica

Common Raven                                                Corvus corax

Tree Swallow                                     Tachycibeta bicolor

Black-capped Chickadee                               Poecile atricapillus

Mountain Chickadee                      Poecile gambeli

Red-breasted Nuthatch                                Sitta canadensis

White-breasted Nuthatch                            Sitta carolinesis

Pygmy Nuthatch                                              Sitta pygmaea

House Wren                                                       Troglodytes aedon

Pacific Wren                                                       Troglodytes pacificus

Bewick’s Wren                                  Trhyomanes bewickii

Golden-crowned Kinglet                              Regulus satrapa

Ruby-crowned Kinglet                   Regulus calendula

Western Bluebird                                            Sialia mexicanus

Mountain Bluebird                                          Sialia curruccoides

Townsend’s Solitaire                      Myadestes townsendi

Hermit Thrush                                   Catharus guttatus

American Robin                                                Turdus migratorius

Nashville Warbler                                            Oreothlypis ruficapilla

Orange-crowned Warbler                            Oreothlypis celata

Yellow-rumped Warbler                               Setophaga coronata

Hermit Warbler                                 Setophaga occidentalis

Townsend’s Warbler                      Setophaga townsendii

MacGillivray’s Warbler                   Geothlypis tomiei

Green-tailed Towhee                    Pipilo chlorurus

Chipping Sparrow                                            Spizella passerina

Lincoln’s Sparrow                                             Melospiza lincolnii

Song Sparrow                                    Melospiza melodia

Fox Sparrow                                                       Passerella iliaca

Dark-eyed Junco*                                           Junco hyemalis

Western Tanager                                             Piranga ludoviciana

Cassin’s Finch                                    Carpodacus cassinii

Red Crossbill                                                      Loxia curvirostra

Pine Siskin                                                           Spinus pinus

Evening Grosbeak                                           Coccothraustes vespertinus

MAMMALS:

mountain lion

bobcat

fisher

marten

short-tailed weasel

raccoon

black bear

common gray fox

elk

mule deer

North American porcupine

Botta’s pocket gopher* Thomomys bottae

northern pocket gopher

western pocket gopher

Townsend’s chipmunk* Tamias townsendii
yellow pine chipmunk*

western pocket gopher*   Thomomys mazama

creeping vole*   Microtus oregoni

dusky-footed wood rat*   Neotoma fuscipes

Norway rat*   Rattus norvegicus

coast mole*   Scapanus orarius

shrew-mole*   Neurotrichus gibbsii

vagrant shrew*   Sorex vagrans

Trowbridge’s shrew* Sorex trowbridgii

fog shrew*   Sorex sonomae

Douglas’ squirrel*     Tamiasciurus douglasii

red squirrel*

northern flying squirrel*   Glaucomys sabrinus

western red-backed vole*   Clethrionomys californicus

montane vole*   Microtus montanus

long-tailed vole           Microtus longicaudus

Richardson’s vole

red-backed vole*

heather vole*

deer mouse*   Peromyscus maniculatus

golden-mantled ground squirrel*

 

*Known prey animal within the Pacific Slope states

 

 

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