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Re: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5

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  • Chet Ogan
    Hi, Part of the reason could be because much of that stretch of I-5 is intensively farmed. Due to concerns about endangered species such as the San Joaquin
    Message 1 of 13 , May 15, 2012
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      Hi,
      Part of the reason could be because much of that stretch of I-5 is intensively farmed. Due to concerns about endangered species such as the San Joaquin kangaroo mouse, ranchers have eliminated most vegetation adjacent to their fields. No habitat: no concern. That portion of I-5 may be one of the areas that still retain vegetation and prey species for diurnal and nocturnal raptors.  Rainfall runoff along roadways increases the amount of water available for plants, CalTrans may not have extra money to clear roadside vegetation
      Just some thoughts.
       
      When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
      -John Muir


      Chet Ogan
      chet_ogan@...
      707-442-9353
      707-496-9001


      ________________________________
      From: Nancy Kenyon <NancyKenyon@...>
      To: Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, May 14, 2012 11:37 PM
      Subject: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5


       
      This evening I received an inquiry from a concerned traveler
      who drives the I-5 from Orange County to Napa County on a
      monthly basis. He reported repeatedly seeing a large number
      of dead owls on a stretch of road about 20 miles north of
      the Shafter turnoff. He said the dead owls were in the
      freeway median and on the side of the road. He counted at
      least 20 of them the last time he went through. He said the
      birds are small, white and brown, maybe a little larger than
      a quail, and sometimes he notices a larger more brown
      colored bird on the road. In all instances their wings are
      fully open and they sway with the wind of the traffic that
      drives by, so they are easy to notice. The stretch of
      freeway seems to be an open area where this is happening. He
      has noticed crops on either side and sometimes just fields
      of dirt.

      Have others noticed this and can anyone shed any light on
      what species of birds are being killed along that stretch of
      the road and the probable cause of the problem?

      Nancy Kenyon
      Irvine




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ken Burton
      It’s been suggested to me that irrigation water applied in dry environments concentrates animal life, and when it’s close to busy roads this is the result.
      Message 2 of 13 , May 15, 2012
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        It’s been suggested to me that irrigation water applied in dry environments concentrates animal life, and when it’s close to busy roads this is the result. The solution is to maintain an irrigation-free buffer along highways. Good luck with that.

        Ken Burton
        Arcata/McKinleyville

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Bob Barnes
        Nancy, et. al.: One of the integrated pest management techniques being passed on to farmers in the Central Valley is the recommendation to install nest boxes
        Message 3 of 13 , May 15, 2012
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          Nancy, et. al.:

          One of the integrated pest management techniques being passed on to
          farmers in the Central Valley is the recommendation to install nest
          boxes to attract Barn Owls to help control the rodent population. I
          have seen numerous Barn Owl boxes which have been placed in
          agricultural fields alongside Interstate 5. Assuming those boxes have
          been successful in attracting Barn Owls, some to many of the owls
          attracted or produced in such close proximity to I-5 could lead to
          the mortality noted by people travelling that highway.

          Bob Barnes, Ridgecrest, Kern County, California

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt
          Add Burrowing owls - smaller brown and blend into the sub-straight therefore easy to miss. SallyWalters & DonSchmoldt Sacramento County, Ca BajaOwl@Gmail.com
          Message 4 of 13 , May 15, 2012
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            Add Burrowing owls - smaller brown and blend into the sub-straight therefore easy to miss.


            SallyWalters & DonSchmoldt
            Sacramento County, Ca
            BajaOwl@...









            On May 15, 2012, at 12:14 AM, Nick & Mary Freeman wrote:

            > Hi Birders
            >
            > When we've traveled the I5 north (especially the central valley), Barn Owls are the most commonly seen road kills along the route. The rodent population in these fields are rich and is the case, the owls are too focused after their prey and frequently fall victims to speeding car encounters. The bright lights at night may cause the owls to become confused with high speeding cars and sadly, are killed. As may be the case, there may likely be a spike in the rodent population with a breeding season thus - more owls in the hunt mode. Short-eared owls may be other victims along the interstate as they also frequent open fields alongside the roadway.
            >
            > Mary Freeman
            > Glendale, CA
            >



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Rich Stallcup
            This owl mortality along I-5 has been going on for decades and we always understood that the cause was uncovered truckloads of grain. The grain blows off the
            Message 5 of 13 , May 15, 2012
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              This owl mortality along I-5 has been going on for decades
              and we always understood that the cause was uncovered
              truckloads of grain.

              The grain blows off the speeding trucks
              and onto the roadbed thus attracting inordinate numbers
              of rodents. That attracts the owls which, in turn are wacked
              by the next trucks.

              This part of the problem CAN be fixed by diligent campaigning
              to seal loads of grain.

              From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt
              Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 11:51 AM
              To: Nick & Mary Freeman
              Cc: Nancy Kenyon; Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5



              Add Burrowing owls - smaller brown and blend into the sub-straight therefore easy to miss.

              SallyWalters & DonSchmoldt
              Sacramento County, Ca
              BajaOwl@...<mailto:BajaOwl%40Gmail.com>

              On May 15, 2012, at 12:14 AM, Nick & Mary Freeman wrote:

              > Hi Birders
              >
              > When we've traveled the I5 north (especially the central valley), Barn Owls are the most commonly seen road kills along the route. The rodent population in these fields are rich and is the case, the owls are too focused after their prey and frequently fall victims to speeding car encounters. The bright lights at night may cause the owls to become confused with high speeding cars and sadly, are killed. As may be the case, there may likely be a spike in the rodent population with a breeding season thus - more owls in the hunt mode. Short-eared owls may be other victims along the interstate as they also frequent open fields alongside the roadway.
              >
              > Mary Freeman
              > Glendale, CA
              >

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Nick Freeman
              ... From: Rich Stallcup Sent: May 15, 2012 1:13 PM To: Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt , Nick & Mary Freeman Cc: Nancy Kenyon , Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
              Message 6 of 13 , May 15, 2012
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                -----Original Message-----

                From: Rich Stallcup

                Sent: May 15, 2012 1:13 PM

                To: Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt , Nick & Mary Freeman

                Cc: Nancy Kenyon , "Calbirds@yahoogroups.com"

                Subject: RE: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5





                Hi

                Nick and I have also witnessed a number of dead Barn Owls in the Salton Sea area. Now, if grain is dropped from the trucks, I would think the wind caused by speeding cars would blow it off the pavement and to the sides of the road. Interesting factor in avian road fatalities. Water tends to collect alongside the sides of highways. This is evidenced by the profusion of flowers growing on the side of the highway. Heading up to the Owens Vally in the springtime on highway 395, wildflowers on the side of road is a delightful spring occurrence. So if vegetation grows thick along the side of the road, imagine how that would and could attract rodents. During an owl prowl on the Angeles Crest Highway, we watched and stopped as a Great-horned Owl made a lift-off from the side of the road as he was carrying a woodrat in its talons and lucky for that owl, we came along and waited as he flew over the road. We also drive the desert roads on warm nights in search of herps and we frequently see kangaroo rats in the vegetation alongside the road. I've seen a few dead raptors alongside freeway off/onramps and I'm sure they are focused on a meal and then become victims themselves. But it happens, Barn Owls seem to be highest fatalities on that stretch of the road and other areas where ag fields exist.

                Mary Freeman
                Glendale, CA


                This owl mortality along I-5 has been going on for decadesand we always understood that the cause was uncovered truckloads of grain. The grain blows off the speeding trucksand onto the roadbed thus attracting inordinate numbersof rodents. That attracts the owls which, in turn are wackedby the next trucks. This part of the problem CAN be fixed by diligent campaigningto seal loads of grain. From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt
                Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 11:51 AM
                To: Nick & Mary Freeman
                Cc: Nancy Kenyon; Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5 Add Burrowing owls - smaller brown and blend into the sub-straight therefore easy to miss.

                SallyWalters & DonSchmoldt
                Sacramento County, Ca
                BajaOwl@...
              • Doug Shaw
                Hi Rich and All, I have seen the CHP pull over main big rigs for uncovered gravel loads, etc... I would assume they would do the same with grain as that can be
                Message 7 of 13 , May 15, 2012
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                  Hi Rich and All,

                  I have seen the CHP pull over main big rigs for uncovered gravel loads, etc... I would assume they would do the same with grain as that can be a road hazard to other drivers. I have called CHP acouple of times about local road hazards and they are always quick to respond. CHP considers road hazards a 911 call so we can use call boxes if we which to stop and report trucks with loose uncovered grain to hopefully slow down this issue. If enough truckers are sited with loose loads maybe the word will get around .....

                  Good Birding,

                  Doug Shaw
                  Santa Rosa, CA


                  From: Rich Stallcup
                  Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 1:13 PM
                  To: Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt ; Nick & Mary Freeman
                  Cc: Nancy Kenyon ; Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5



                  This owl mortality along I-5 has been going on for decades
                  and we always understood that the cause was uncovered
                  truckloads of grain.

                  The grain blows off the speeding trucks
                  and onto the roadbed thus attracting inordinate numbers
                  of rodents. That attracts the owls which, in turn are wacked
                  by the next trucks.

                  This part of the problem CAN be fixed by diligent campaigning
                  to seal loads of grain.

                  From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt
                  Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 11:51 AM
                  To: Nick & Mary Freeman
                  Cc: Nancy Kenyon; Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5

                  Add Burrowing owls - smaller brown and blend into the sub-straight therefore easy to miss.

                  SallyWalters & DonSchmoldt
                  Sacramento County, Ca
                  BajaOwl@...<mailto:BajaOwl%40Gmail.com>

                  On May 15, 2012, at 12:14 AM, Nick & Mary Freeman wrote:

                  > Hi Birders
                  >
                  > When we've traveled the I5 north (especially the central valley), Barn Owls are the most commonly seen road kills along the route. The rodent population in these fields are rich and is the case, the owls are too focused after their prey and frequently fall victims to speeding car encounters. The bright lights at night may cause the owls to become confused with high speeding cars and sadly, are killed. As may be the case, there may likely be a spike in the rodent population with a breeding season thus - more owls in the hunt mode. Short-eared owls may be other victims along the interstate as they also frequent open fields alongside the roadway.
                  >
                  > Mary Freeman
                  > Glendale, CA
                  >

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Jon
                  There is more to it than loose grain loads. Jon Winter ... From: Doug Shaw Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 4:53 PM To: Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt ; Nick & Mary
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 15, 2012
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                    There is more to it than loose grain loads.

                    Jon Winter

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Doug Shaw
                    Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 4:53 PM
                    To: Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt ; Nick & Mary Freeman ; Rich Stallcup
                    Cc: Nancy Kenyon ; Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5

                    Hi Rich and All,

                    I have seen the CHP pull over main big rigs for uncovered gravel loads,
                    etc... I would assume they would do the same with grain as that can be a
                    road hazard to other drivers. I have called CHP acouple of times about
                    local road hazards and they are always quick to respond. CHP considers road
                    hazards a 911 call so we can use call boxes if we which to stop and report
                    trucks with loose uncovered grain to hopefully slow down this issue. If
                    enough truckers are sited with loose loads maybe the word will get around
                    .....

                    Good Birding,

                    Doug Shaw
                    Santa Rosa, CA


                    From: Rich Stallcup
                    Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 1:13 PM
                    To: Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt ; Nick & Mary Freeman
                    Cc: Nancy Kenyon ; Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: RE: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5



                    This owl mortality along I-5 has been going on for decades
                    and we always understood that the cause was uncovered
                    truckloads of grain.

                    The grain blows off the speeding trucks
                    and onto the roadbed thus attracting inordinate numbers
                    of rodents. That attracts the owls which, in turn are wacked
                    by the next trucks.

                    This part of the problem CAN be fixed by diligent campaigning
                    to seal loads of grain.

                    From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                    Of Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt
                    Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 11:51 AM
                    To: Nick & Mary Freeman
                    Cc: Nancy Kenyon; Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5

                    Add Burrowing owls - smaller brown and blend into the sub-straight therefore
                    easy to miss.

                    SallyWalters & DonSchmoldt
                    Sacramento County, Ca
                    BajaOwl@...<mailto:BajaOwl%40Gmail.com>

                    On May 15, 2012, at 12:14 AM, Nick & Mary Freeman wrote:

                    > Hi Birders
                    >
                    > When we've traveled the I5 north (especially the central valley), Barn
                    > Owls are the most commonly seen road kills along the route. The rodent
                    > population in these fields are rich and is the case, the owls are too
                    > focused after their prey and frequently fall victims to speeding car
                    > encounters. The bright lights at night may cause the owls to become
                    > confused with high speeding cars and sadly, are killed. As may be the
                    > case, there may likely be a spike in the rodent population with a breeding
                    > season thus - more owls in the hunt mode. Short-eared owls may be other
                    > victims along the interstate as they also frequent open fields alongside
                    > the roadway.
                    >
                    > Mary Freeman
                    > Glendale, CA
                    >

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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                  • Zachary Smith
                    I remember an NPR story a few years ago about some road mortality research going on in Idaho. Interesting if nothing else. Lo and behold, I found it. Linked
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 15, 2012
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                      I remember an NPR story a few years ago about some road mortality research
                      going on in Idaho. Interesting if nothing else. Lo and behold, I found it.
                      Linked here:

                      http://www.prx.org/pieces/23188-the-mysterious-death-of-the-barn-owl

                      Zach Smith
                      Davis, Ca.

                      On Tue, May 15, 2012 at 5:42 PM, Jon <wint@...> wrote:

                      > **
                      >
                      >
                      > There is more to it than loose grain loads.
                      >
                      > Jon Winter
                      >
                      > -----Original Message-----
                      > From: Doug Shaw
                      > Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 4:53 PM
                      > To: Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt ; Nick & Mary Freeman ; Rich Stallcup
                      > Cc: Nancy Kenyon ; Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
                      > Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5
                      >
                      > Hi Rich and All,
                      >
                      > I have seen the CHP pull over main big rigs for uncovered gravel loads,
                      > etc... I would assume they would do the same with grain as that can be a
                      > road hazard to other drivers. I have called CHP acouple of times about
                      > local road hazards and they are always quick to respond. CHP considers
                      > road
                      > hazards a 911 call so we can use call boxes if we which to stop and report
                      > trucks with loose uncovered grain to hopefully slow down this issue. If
                      > enough truckers are sited with loose loads maybe the word will get around
                      > .....
                      >
                      > Good Birding,
                      >
                      > Doug Shaw
                      > Santa Rosa, CA
                      >
                      > From: Rich Stallcup
                      > Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 1:13 PM
                      > To: Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt ; Nick & Mary Freeman
                      > Cc: Nancy Kenyon ; Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
                      > Subject: RE: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5
                      >
                      > This owl mortality along I-5 has been going on for decades
                      > and we always understood that the cause was uncovered
                      > truckloads of grain.
                      >
                      > The grain blows off the speeding trucks
                      > and onto the roadbed thus attracting inordinate numbers
                      > of rodents. That attracts the owls which, in turn are wacked
                      > by the next trucks.
                      >
                      > This part of the problem CAN be fixed by diligent campaigning
                      > to seal loads of grain.
                      >
                      > From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On
                      > Behalf
                      > Of Sally Walters & Don Schmoldt
                      > Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 11:51 AM
                      > To: Nick & Mary Freeman
                      > Cc: Nancy Kenyon; Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
                      > Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Dead Owls(?) on I-5
                      >
                      > Add Burrowing owls - smaller brown and blend into the sub-straight
                      > therefore
                      > easy to miss.
                      >
                      > SallyWalters & DonSchmoldt
                      > Sacramento County, Ca
                      > BajaOwl@...<mailto:BajaOwl%40Gmail.com>
                      >
                      > On May 15, 2012, at 12:14 AM, Nick & Mary Freeman wrote:
                      >
                      > > Hi Birders
                      > >
                      > > When we've traveled the I5 north (especially the central valley), Barn
                      > > Owls are the most commonly seen road kills along the route. The rodent
                      > > population in these fields are rich and is the case, the owls are too
                      > > focused after their prey and frequently fall victims to speeding car
                      > > encounters. The bright lights at night may cause the owls to become
                      > > confused with high speeding cars and sadly, are killed. As may be the
                      > > case, there may likely be a spike in the rodent population with a
                      > breeding
                      > > season thus - more owls in the hunt mode. Short-eared owls may be other
                      > > victims along the interstate as they also frequent open fields alongside
                      > > the roadway.
                      > >
                      > > Mary Freeman
                      > > Glendale, CA
                      > >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      > ------------------------------------
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                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Christopher Stevenson
                      I work for Caltrans in Los Angeles. The maintenance div. is most likely people to know more as they handled any roadkills, and in some areas they report this
                      Message 10 of 13 , May 18, 2012
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                        I work for Caltrans in Los Angeles. The maintenance div. is most likely people to know more as they handled any roadkills, and in some areas they report this data to wildlife agencies.
                        I will forward this to the central valley district t see if they can help or have any insight.

                        Christopher Stevenson
                        CT Biologist.
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