DEBATE OF '98- responsibilities of forest land owners

Don Baccus dhogaza at
Thu Apr 30 15:02:35 EST 1998

In article <6iaccc$qm$1 at>,  <dwheeler at> wrote:

>There _used_ to be a Great Gray owl near Rooster Rock also: had a nest up
>there. Hasn't been seen in about 5 years though.

This surprises me, as it totally escaped the attention of the Oregon birding
community (which found nesting barred owls before the USFS, BLM or ODF&W
did, as a matter of fact I own the third nesting record for the state).

Birders are very well organized, and more than you might think enjoy taking
their clothes off... (Oregon has legal nude beaches, Rooster Rock being
one of them, for those of you who don't live here).

Did you see this pair personally or was this hearsay.  If you saw it yourself
will you promise next time you find something so unusual you'll report it
to someplace like Portland Audubon?  The birding community does a bunch of
the basic bird research in Oregon, just as elsewhere in the country.  Though
generally folks doing so have no formal credentials, professional ornithologists 
are heavily dependent on such data.  One of the beauties of birding, its a
hobby, which like some branches of astronomy, allow amateurs to participate
in research.

One of the major projects is the Breeding Bird Atlas, annual surveys of
large hexagon plots which tile the state.  The person with the hexagon
including Rooster Rock would've loved to have been told about this pair.

Barreds are pretty common in that stretch of the gorge but I've never
heard of great grays nesting that far west.  The USFS has been surveying
their easternmost holdings on Mt. Hood which barely reaches the pond pine
side of the hill, the rest being the Warm Springs Rez (which has great
grays).  I know a couple of the surveyors and they've not found them,
just the wrong type of forest.

>>Have seen some Great Horned
>owls, but they are larger than what was seen. Owl observed was mostly white,
>some cream on breast, approx. 20 inches tall, perhaps 25 inch wingspan, and
>apparently still hunting at 11 am on October 10, 1997.

If it were a Strix sp. and this pale, we're back to barred, I think.

Spotted owls, 16.5-19" long, 45" wingspan (I presume you meant 25 inch
wing length, above?).  Barred 17-24" long.  The smaller would be the
male, the larger females, yours a tweener for a barred (usually,
wingchord is used to sex, not all species can be sexed in the field,
I don't do owl work so don't know offhand how reliably these can
be sexed).  Barn owls are 14-20 inches, they have a very wide range
so I imagine there's a some regional variation.  Apparently they can't
be reliably sexed by wing chord or other size indicators in the hand,
since Portland Audubon has a thoroughly imprinted barn owl that someone
raised and we received to keep as an education bird twenty (!) years ago.
"Owen", now too arthritic to visit schools, was thought to be a male
until she was something like 10 and laid an egg.

>No. Did contact Washington Fish & Wildlife, who asked I return to collect
>carcass. When I returned, carcass had apparently already been scavenged. Other
>than a few water-logged feathers, so trace of the rather ripe carcass. :(

I see.  Too bad.  They probably wanted to try and find out what killed it.
This is a good example of why it's always a good idea to carry pen and
paper when you're out in the woods - not that I do so consistently!  The
band number is the by far the most important piece of data, you don't need
to take the band itself.  There are provisions in the laws banning possession
of birds for allowing transportation of specimens to a facility with a salvage
permit or FW-type agencies, but getting caught with a spotted owl in your
car would probably be a hassle to get straightened out.

- Don Baccus, Portland OR <dhogaza at>
  Nature photos, on-line guides, at

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