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Re: [wsbn] Owl Photo

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  • Terry Meyers
    A co-worker found 4 (I believe) fledgling WESO while completing a raptor survey in junipers near De Beque on June 8, 2010. He didn t get very good photos.
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 5 9:01 PM
    A co-worker found 4 (I believe) fledgling WESO while completing a raptor survey in junipers near De Beque on June 8, 2010.  He didn't get very good photos.  I've attached the best.  This was in the Roan Creek watershed, and was about 12 miles from De Beque.  The riparian habitat along the creek below is primarily boxelder (sparse), water birch, willow sp., etc.  The birds were perched approximately 1/4 mile from the nearest riparian area.  There are residences nearby, but I do not recall if they have mature cottonwoods in their yards or not.

    On Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 2:55 PM, nic korte <nkorte1@...> wrote:

    Other support to the "wandering WESOs"hypothesis is that almost every box in the Grand Valley has an owl try it out if you wait long enough...possibly years.  The random/surprising sightings are virtually all in November and December.   When we do spring box checks, the number of occupied boxes is half or less.

    To: black.hawk.birder@...; coenbrenda@...
    CC: wsbn@yahoogroups.com
    From: cddodson@...
    Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2012 11:26:41 -0700
    Subject: Re: [wsbn] Owl Photo

    I found a roosting WESO in dense closed canopy PJ last May/June. Too early for post-breeding dispersion and 2000 feet above the nearest cottonwoods/riparian habitat. It was at the head of Bower's Gulch on the south side of Douglas mtn. a quarter mile within the Dinosaur NP boundary. Basically PJ/rimrock terrain. The gulch was devoid of surface water even that early in such a wet year. At this point the Yampa and cottonwoods are a mile or so and 2000 vertical feet below you. I presumed it was using that rich PJ habitat. There actually is one small cottonwood on the shore of a dried up pond at the NP boundary but that is hardly cottonwood habitat. Perhaps they use PJ more than we know.
    Craig Dodson

    >>> "Jacob C. Cooper" 01/05/12 10:26 AM >>>

    Coen and all, the winter movement hypothesis, possibly some form of post-breeding dispersion, would make sense to me. Several years ago a group I was with actually banded a Western Screech in the PJ above Debeque. If I remember right, Kim Potter caught another one there later as well. These birds came silently to Saw-whet tapes, so it would be hard to quantify such dispersion if they are quiet while doing so, but shows them using non-riparian habitat. The isolated cottonwoods surrounded by PJ may be islands of suitable habitat for such birds moving through unsuitable habitat. Just my two cents worth. 

    Jacob Cooper
    Mesa County

    On Jan 5, 2012, at 18:55, Brenda Wright <coenbrenda@...> wrote:


    The road killed owl is a Western Screech-Owl.  Western and Eastern Screech-Owls are difficult to separate unless they are calling.  Eastern Screech-Owls have an ivory colored bill and the WESO has a dark bill with an light tip, a field mark that is difficult to see in the photos.  There are no EASO records for western Colorado.
    There are several counties in western Colorado (mostly high elevation) that still do not have a record for WESO, at least that I am aware of; Eagle, Summit, Pitkin, Saguache, Dolores, Hinsdale and Mineral. 
    We have found two road killed WESO this winter in areas where there are not records for the species.  The habitat is poor quality riparian with pinyon/juniper adjacent to the river.  I do not know if these owls are doing some winter movement or are there all the time and just go undetected.
    Both locations (road killed owls) are in priority Breeding Bird Atlas blocks.  More of this type of habitat should be checked for WESO this spring and summer as this is the final year of Breeding Bird Atlas II.
    We now have several locations for WESO in the atlas database thanks to Nic Korte and others for entering the known owl sites in the Grand Valley.  All owls species should be entered in the database, priority or non-priority blocks, because of very limited coverage. 
    Happy New Year,
    Coen and Brenda

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