Date: 7/5/19 8:16 am
From: larspernorgren <larspernorgren...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Hermit Warbler at Larch Mountain
It is no accident that the Hermit Warbler is the logo of the Oregon Birding Association. It is probably the most widespread and/or abundant Warbler in western Oregon. Ironically, it is also a species that the majority of the 1,700 subscribers to Obol have probably not seen. They probably have all heard one singing at some point, but until one learns the song it is easily ignored.      The notion that Hermit Warblers are threatened by a putative range expansion of Townsend's Warbler is regrettable at best. I had not encountered the idea until this year's OBA meeting. There is indeed a hybrid zone of the two species which includes the north Oregon Cascades and is probably centered on the southern Washington Cascades. This is an area that offered almost no access to earlier generations of ornithologists, who were very few in number anyway. Widespread timber harvest after WWII has facilitated access to these higher elevations.  But there is no baseline data for an area that has now been transformed by that timber harvest. Old growth forests became clearcuts. Those clearcuts were routinely replanted with ponderosa pine where hemlock, Douglas-fir, and true fir(Abies sp.) were the natural inhabitants.      Human distribution makes it easier for us to passively encounter Townsend's Warbler. They winter in much of the lowlands of western Oregon, coastal and interior. The Eugene CBC recorded about 175 some ten years ago. The Yaquina count had similar numbers this past winter. In migration the Townsend's can be the default species. I saw many at Page Springs last Labor Day. They were there again this Memorial Day. The Portland Audubon Society sponsors birdsong walks every Wednesday in April and May on Mt Tabor. Townsend's Warblers are detected on most of these walks, often the commonest of about eight potential species of warbler. I have faithfully attended these walks for five or six years now. I don't need to take off my socks to count the Hermit detections on those fifty odd sample periods. The species nests within ten miles of Mt Tabor in all cardinal directions.      Hankyu Kim in the Dept of Fisheries and Wildlife is currently studying the species for his doctoral dissertation at OSU. A good subject for study given its prediliction for rotational age Douglas-fir. A somewhat challenging species to get an accurate head count. Besides the hybrid birds singing in the Cascades, Hermit and Black-throated Gray Warblers immitate each other constantly during the breeding season and occupy the same habitat in western Oregon. Visual detection is necessary for definitive ID, and in rotational age Douglas-fir that is a fool's errand. My most recent good look at a Hermit Warbler was at the parking lot on top of Larch Mountain east of Corbett. They nest next to my house 25 miles nw of downtown Portland, but fifteen minutes spent trying to see the singing bird reliably produces a sore neck, rarely a visual detection. LarsSent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone
-------- Original message --------From: Jeff Gilligan <jeffgilligan10...> Date: 7/5/19 1:22 AM (GMT-08:00) To: <jmaynard...> Cc: obol <obol...>, <epbc...> Subject: [obol] Re: Hermit Warbler at Larch Mountain On Jul 4, 2019, at 9:15 PM, Jack Maynard <jmaynard...> wrote:Hey Birders!Do these Hermit Warblers breed here? I had understood that they have been pushed out of many areas by the more successful Townsend’s? I’d love to hear what others know about this.  It was a treat to see these birds as I’d only seen them before in Central Oregon and in Mexico.   Jack Maynard ( and Kelli Van Norman) Yes- Hermit Warblers are common breeders on Larch Mountain.Jeff Gilligan
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