[Tweeters] Western Screech Owl?/eBird plea

Nigel Ball nigelj.ball at gmail.com
Sat Mar 17 11:38:36 PDT 2012

I would second the characterization of ebird as 'extraordinary' and also to
acknowledge the significant and valuable work of those who monitor and help
keep it clean.

I have a procedural question regarding playing owl sounds in the strict
context of the amateur owler: Damaging or public service for documentation?
Even more basically, does playback even induce a response? How often?

Please note that I'm not after a discussion of playback in general but just
this specific context!


Nigel Ball
On Mar 17, 2012 11:20 AM, "J. Acker" <owler at sounddsl.com> wrote:

> 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

> Bernson

> 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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