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Re: recording owl vocalizations

Subject: Re: recording owl vocalizations
From: "Rich Peet" <>
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 14:18:26 -0000
--- In  "wahpenayo" <>
> I apologize for causing the rhubarb. I do not advocate the use of 
> playback to record birdsong. I'm recording as an opportunity only 
> resulting from work I'm already doing. I appreciate the concerns 
> expressed for the owls. I try to tread as lightly as possible, and 
> usually call any one owl pair no more than once or twice in a year's 
> time. I don't believe that is harmful, but recognize there is 
> legitimate argument both ways. I've argued with myself many times 
> over it.

Thanks for treading lightly. I don't distinguish playback to record
birdsong from playback to survey or band. I wouldn't mind if you were
the only one using playback to these owls but there are multiple
groups that are and no one will take the possition that it is illegal
due to harrasement of an endangered species.

> Spotted owls here have continued to decline, even with no further 
> logging of habitat, possibly resulting from the influx of barred 
> owls, a non-native species to the pacific northwest. While I would 
> like to employ a non-invasive method as Rob suggests, there are just 
> too many owls of both species to do so, and it would be only 
> partially effective given the size of a spotted owl's area of 
> activity.

in January 04, the Bush administration tripled the amount of logging
permitted in the Sierra Nevada and removed protections for the owl and
old-growth forests for California. For me to go deeper into the
subject would be off topic to nature recording and sorry but I have
been warned here and can not discuss further on list.

> Without the research, spotted owls would have been gone from this 
> area by now. Their habitat would have been logged. Imitating calls to 
> gain a response from an owl could have a negative effect (but who is 
> not just guessing on this?) but removing their habitat certainly 
> does. Now, with the barred owl, there are many who are saying that it 
> is a lost cause, that barred owls will eliminate spotted owls, so 
> it's okay to log all the older forest, and who cares about the other 
> species that may be lost. There is a very real possibility this could 
> happen.

Uncontrolled logging of the last of the oldgrowth without concern for
saving a ecosystem type is what damaged the owls, research under this
administration has simply identified the targets to destroy. There is
a good argument that any research will be used by the US government
right now to grant license for further destruction by the US gov..
You want to playback spotted calls to barred owls without guesswork
then come here to MN. We got tons of barred owls and they are assured
not to bother any spotted owls.

> Results from my work show that there are areas that appear to be 
> resistant to barred owl occupation. Yet nany of these areas have no 
> protection from habitat removal. I am therefore working to get these 
> areas protected so that the spotted owl may (hopefully) continue to 
> be a resident species in SW Washington.
> I can understand why a recordist would be concerned about the use of 
> playback. If there are better, non-invasive methods that could be 
> effectively employed, we would all be highly interested. Again, I do 
> not advocate the use of playback to record birdsong.

Come to MN to play with the barred. Stop the policy on highly
territorial species to band every offspring. Owls, Falcons and others.

> Rich, hybrids do not appear to be a problem. Their occurance is 
> pretty rare, possibly due to initial colonization of an area by 
> barred owls where barred owl mates are scarce. It is unlikely that a 
> barred owl differentiates a spotted owl call from a barred owl call 
> like we do, more likely that it recognizes a STRIX call. But where 
> did you get the idea that the purpose is to advocate clearcutting 
> forest? That is the exact opposite of what I believe.

Don't take it personal, as spotted owl research is solely under US
regulation I look at the larger US policy changes that are occuring
and the actions being taken.

> Bob Pearson
> Packwood, WA

Happy to discuss more off list but as there are a few pro-bush
non-environmental recordists on the list I risk being tossed for
making comment.


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