bad Band tail 2 decades

newboldwildlife at netscape.net newboldwildlife at netscape.net
Tue Sep 17 22:02:43 PDT 2002


Hi all,

First, I was very pleasantly shocked to see Charlie Wright’s Nighthawk posting.  Anyone seeing Nighthawks on the West side should keep Tweeters posted.

Second, It’s frustrating to think how little any of us seem to know about what’s really happening with local bird populations.  When it comes to Band Tailed Pigeons, there may be up and down trends out in the suburbs and beyond, but in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, and eastern slope, if you go back to the 70s,  the trend has been all one way and that’s down.  When I got here in the 70s it was normal to see hundreds of Band Tails roosting near Husky stadium and they usually outnumbered Norwegian Doves on the north slope of Capitol Hill.  

Putting a hunting season on this bird, which is definitely at risk if not in trouble, was a terrible idea.  A friend who fed them on Beacon Hill until they finally disappeared this year has described to me their skittishness when approaching a feeder—they’d take a half an hour to get down to feeding!  How much time are these birds wasting doing normal foraging tasks and how much habitat are they under-utilizing simply because they are hunted and think like hunted animals?

It’s ironic that nobody wants to shoot Crows anymore, and Crows, which may be the biggest reason for the Band Tails Seattle decline here, aren’t the least bit skittish.

I had planned to blast the hunting season in a press release or in an ad in the Seattle Times.   I’m kicking myself that I decided I didn’t know enough to do that.  Somebody still should.



  –Ed Newbold, newboldwildlife at netscape.net   Beacon Hill







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