Adirondack Owls

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Adirondack Owls

New postby dave » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:52 am

The moderator of Owlpages.com provided me with the following post:

A couple weeks ago there was a story run in the North Country Public Radio about Barred Owls struggling due to the deep snow pack in Adirondack Mountains in New York State. The story goes on to state that due to the deeper then normal snow pack, mice and voles will not be available to Barred Owls, and they will be significantly impacted. Unfortunately the author of the article was clearly misinformed about owls. You can read the story here: http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/17397/20110330/barred-owl-struggled-through-tough-winter

This lead to the same general story being duplicated in forums and blogs across the Adirondack region. Several people including myself tried to correct the erroneous errors in the story before hysteria set in. But, it was too late.

But, the story really started to spiral out of control when the following article was published in the Adirondack Almanac Blog: http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2011/03/banner-winter-for-adirondack-mice.html

I made a guest post to the article correcting the details of the claim. This we met with a post from the editor of the blog quoting people who are not known owl experts. When I responded politely again with the scientific facts to the editor’s post, my post was removed within hours. We also noticed that other comments were being edited.

For those who want to know the scientific facts that the Adirondack Almanack refuses to allow, here it is:

Barred Owls are multi-prey owls. And, Barred Owls have a very large menu of prey. Great-Horned Owls have an even large menu That means that they will switch to different prey when certain prey items on their menu disappear. Barred Owls will not starve to death just because mice and voles are not available. There are plenty of other prey items to eat. If we go to the grocery story and orange juice is not available, humans are not going to perish from the earth. Same thing with owls. It really is that simple.

There are some owls, such as, Great Gray Owls (“GGO”) and Snowy White Owls (“SWO”) which are mono-prey owls. They depend upon a very small menu of prey. Both of these owls can still exist in snow packs far deeper then the Adirondack Mountains. But, these owls will vary in population due to low prey during the nesting season. But, not during the Winter months. Great Gray Owls will not switch to other prey when their preferred prey is not available. The real difference is that GGO and SWO are mono-prey where GHO, BO, and ESO are multi-prey owls.

Over the last couple weeks, I have reviewed and dissected numerous Barred Owl pellets from the Adirondacks. The Barred Owls in Adirondacks are not having a problem finding food. Furthermore, they are not having problems find mice and voles. So the story is just plain wrong.

It has been my experience that Barred Owls (“BO”), Eastern Screech Owls (“ESO”), and Great-Horned Owls (“GHO”) actually prosper and thrive when there are harsh weather conditions on the ground. While ground animals are having a difficult time navigating on the ground, it creates better opportunities for owls to pick off their prey. This was especially evident in the Spring of 2010 in the Catskill Mountains. In March of 2010 the Catskill Mountains received 7-8' of snow in ONE snow storm. Mice and voles stayed below the snow for 2-4 weeks, and rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents stayed below for a week. When they did come to the surface they became easy pickings for owls. The population of owls in the Catskill Mountain exploded. We are now finding owls in the Catskills where they never existed before. So, when the Adirondacks got more snow then normal, this will actually help owls. It will not hurt them like the articles have suggested.

Two other subject came up during this matter. People have remarked that they have seen a large number of Barred Owls dead on the side of the road in the lower Adirondacks. Unfortunately, Barred Owls are low flyers and fare poorly with car impacts.

Another poster commented that he saw thin Barred Owls, and they had been hanging around houses. All owls pick up diseases from their prey. Unfortunately, owls suffer from many intestinal disease that they pick up from prey. When they get sick they will often roost up in the trees until they get better or die. Owls around houses will also pickup rodents that may have eaten rat poison. People who use rat poison are just making their situation worse. Owls can clean out rodents better then rat poison.

The premise that Barred Owls (GHO and ESO) are significantly impacted by elevated snow pack is just plain wrong. The opposite is actually true.
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Re: Adirondack Owls

New postby mike » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:55 pm

I had a problem login to Adirondack Almanack about 1-1/2 years ago. So, I emailed John Warren (editor). He sent me back a snippy and elitist Email that maybe I didn't know what I was doing. I emailed him back with my credentials. In the end, he never fixed the login problem. I no longer go there. I think he has journalistic integrity issues.

John Warren's attitude is that he only wants people who appear intelligent responding to his stories. And, ONLY if they post something that makes Adirondack Almanack look good. Those that he doesn't like he deletes. What he really wants is people to read his stories and follow him because he truly believes that he is God. In my opinion the guy is a fraud.

I have to admit, the Barred Owls in the Catskills have increased dramatically from previous years.
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Re: Adirondack Owls

New postby bikenhike » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:50 pm

It's one thing to edit or delete a posting that is offensive. But, when a site deletes postings because it makes them look bad, then the site is worthless. The truth is more important then the image of the site. When the public finds out, then the site loses credibility. I've been there, but can't see a reason to return. Now that I know more, I will never return. The information is worthless if it can't stand up to scientific scrutiny.

Thanks for letting us know.
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Re: Adirondack Owls

New postby mtnclimber » Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:14 pm

I spent a lot of time reading all the reports and comments. Seems like they are fabricating the who story, and doing damage control to conceal it.

@Greg. Yeah...does make a lot of sense. Canada is a lot colder, and has a lot more snow.
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