[Tweeters] RFI Northern Pygmy Owls, Methow Valley

Wayne Weber contopus at telus.net
Thu Sep 7 07:15:23 PDT 2017

Emily and Tweeters,

Northern Pygmy-Owls are altitudinal migrants, and they tend to breed at higher altitudes. My experience in the southern interior of BC, in very similar habitats to the Methow Valley, is that they are rarely seen in summer below 3500 feet altitude, and are usually in heavily forested areas. Early September is still summer for Pygmy-Owls.

In winter, however, they descend to valley bottom, and are often seen in open forest. The Penticton, BC Christmas Bird Count, for instance, averages 5 or 6 Pygmy-Owls, and has had as many as 17 of them. Pygmy-Owls are diurnal (day-active), often perch at the top of a tree, and are usually easy to see if they are present.

If you really want to see Northern Pygmy-Owl, I would suggest that you join one of the midwinter WOS field trips to Okanogan County, which last 2 or 3 days. There is one such trip almost every winter, and some winters there have been two trips. These trips nearly always find Northern Pygmy-Owl, as well as many other bird species which are hard or impossible to find on the west side.

Good luck!

Wayne C. Weber

Delta, BC

contopus at telus.net

From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu [mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Emily Birchman
Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2017 8:12 PM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Tweeters] RFI Northern Pygmy Owls, Methow Valley

Hi all,

I realize this is a terrible time to go to the Methow Valley, what with the wildfires raging, but I have a trip planned for this weekend with a group of friends and it's been in the works for many months now, so as long as the fires are far enough away from where we're actually staying, we're still going.

That said, every time I go there I always hope to see a Northern Pygmy Owl, and I was wondering if someone can give me any advice on best places to see them (assuming said places are not in the wildfire paths). I'll probably only have one opportunity on this trip to do any birding, so if someone has a tried and true area, I'd love to know where to go. I dipped on the pygmy owl that showed up at Tolt Macdonald Park last summer and I'm still dreaming of seeing one.

I know it's a long shot with the fires and all, but thought I'd still check to see if someone had any leads. :) I just checked Ebird and I admit I'm not adept at using it at all, but didn't see any recent records near Winthrop.

Emily Birchman

Kenmore, WA

stollea at gmail.com

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