Date: 12/23/18 1:49 pm From: Harry Fuller <atowhee...> Subject: [RV Birds] Great Gray Owl breeding territory nearest Portland--Clackamas County
There is now evidence that Great Gray Owls (hereafter “GGO”] are resident
breeders in southeastern Clackamas County. That’s less than 35 miles from
Powell’s Book Store in central Portland. The owls breeding there are at
the northwestern edge of the GGO breeding range in Oregon as far as we now
know. When Peter Thiemann and I published our book, *Great Gray Owls of
California, Oregon and Washington *, we used the best available
information to get our breeding range maps drawn. GGOs had been seen
occasionally at Silver Falls State Park in Marion County and it formed an
isolated island of likely breeding habitat on the Oregon range map. The
last CBC record there was in 2013. Now we know that GGOs are currently
living and breeding in the low foothills north of Silverton and Silver
Falls SP. They are in an area east of Scotts Mills inside Clackamas
County. There are four unspecific sightings of GGOs in Clackamas recorded
on eBird. EBird does not disclose specific locations for this (and other)
sensitive species. Making it more complicated to determine GGO presence in
an area is their aloof behavior as opposed to aggressive territoriality…and
the fact that there is no central avian database beyond the wonderful but
haphazard reality of eBird and its voluntary user-base.
On this year’s Salem Christmas Bird Count I was teamed with two biologists
from the Salem office of the BLM. One was Corban Murphy who himself has
seen GGOs in Clackamas including a pair of immature birds in early summer.
Young GGOs are quite sedentary until their first autumn so these two had to
have been born near where they were seen. After that sighting the private
forest there was clear cut so the owls surviving would have moved to some
suitable forest/meadow complex nearby. Some of the Clackamas sightings have
been on private land. In all these GGOs are living and breeding in and
around trees farms, elevation 1000-1600 feet in the Cascade foothills.
I have updated range maps, photo and further details on my blog:
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