Date: 3/11/17 10:33 am From: Gary Bullock <gbullockak...> Subject: [Tweeters] The Owl in the Toilet
Yes, I'm usually a funny guy, but this is not the punchline to one of my jokes.
I'm talking about the danger to owls, and other cavity nesting birds entering unscreened vent pipes on outhouses and vault toilets. These innocent birds are becoming trapped within the pipes or the in the sewage vault below the outhouse toilet. Venturing down an unscreened vent pipe is most likely a death sentence for a bird. Screening the vent pipe opening can prevent the injury or death of these birds that are only doing what comes naturally to them: looking for a safe cavity to nest or roost in.
A friend forwarded a newsletter article from The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and through them, I found other links which are included here. I don't do Facebook or Twitter, so I haven't perused any information that might be found there.
I don't know if the National Park Service, US Forest Service or the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are on-board with this effort. We should also eyeball the porta-potties and vault toilets in local parks and trail areas to see if they have screens installed. The Teton Raptor Center in Wilson, WY, has been a nationwide leader in this issue. Their map of partner states (currently 32 states) includes Washington, so at some level, the screens are being employed here. If any of you have contacts with local, state or federal parks or wildlife organizations, please help spread the word.
This is a fairly easy fix and improvement that can help our wildlife, especially the cavity nesters which already seem to have the odds stacked against them. Thanks for your interest. We see outhouses and vault toilets as a convenience or at times, a godsend. Lets make sure they are not a death trap for birds and other wildlife.