[Tweeters] Western Screech Owl?/eBird plea

J. Acker owler at sounddsl.com
Sat Mar 17 11:19:52 PDT 2012

The last (and only) eBird entry for Juanita Park Western Screech-Owls (WESO)
this year was of 1 on 2/11/2012. (Thank you Grace Oliver for entering the
observation). To date, there are no Barred Owl (BDOW) entries for Juanita
Park, but I am wondering if those of you that bird the park have documented
Barred Owl there. eBird data for WESO at Juanita goes back to 12/23/2004
(thank you Ryan Merrill), and would appear to indicate that WESO bred there
in the past. WESO should be vocal now, as they are expected on eggs the
first week in April. Barred Owls in the Puget Sound area are now on eggs.

As a point, this is THE ONLY eBird entry for WESO in the Seattle area this
year, while there are several BDOW entries. To me, this is a bit alarming,
but congruent with my owling observations on Bainbridge Island for the past
15 years.

I am close to having an article published documenting the decline (to the
point of extirpation) of WESO on Bainbridge Island, and the concurrent
population boom of BDOW on Bainbridge. Owl data is difficult to obtain, by
the very nature of the nocturnal hours required to obtain much of it. Beyond
my own research, another Washington State resource that I used was data from
Christmas Bird Counts, with all the inherent flaws of data that is not
corrected for observer effort with regard to owling. The last resource I
used was Matt Bartel's County Checklist, which since the initiation in the
mid-90's, revealed some concerning statewide trends in WESO/BDOW abundance.

eBird was launched by Cornell in 2002, and is a powerful tool for multiple
applications and users. From data analysis such as "Trends in WESO
occurrence in Washington State" to "Where is the closest recent observation
of a Snowy Owl so that I can take my significant other to see one?", eBird
is extraordinary in its possibilities. However, it is highly dependent upon
the submission of observations by ordinary and extraordinary birdwatchers
like those in the Tweeters community. Please consider submitting data. It
really does go somewhere and mean something to somebody.

You don't know what you have until it is gone. The Western Screech-Owl may
be on a similar path as the Northern Spotted Owl here in Washington.

-J. Acker
owler at sounddsl.com
Bainbridge Island, WA

-----Original Message-----
From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Blair
Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2012 5:53 AM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Tweeters] Western Screech Owl?

At this time last year a Western Screech Owl was seen often at Juanita Bay
Park. Has anyone seen a Screech there this year? Any other fairly reliable
Seattle area spots?

Blair Bernson
Seattle, WA
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Tweeters at u.washington.edu

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