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Owl decline in Sonora raises concerns (ENVIRO WACKO ALERT)
Arizona Daily Star ^ | 03/07/05 | Tony Davis

Posted on 03/07/2005 4:46:56 PM PST by SandRat

Could affect option to import, replenish stock of Ariz. birds.

The pygmy owl population dropped sharply during the past five years in northern Sonora, a new study has concluded.

The findings could spell trouble for U.S. government plans to possibly import northern Mexican birds to enhance Arizona's small cactus ferruginous pygmy owl population, said two University of Arizona researchers who wrote the study.

The study doesn't play directly into legal issues that have the Arizona owl's endangered status in limbo, they said. But its results make it important to protect the Arizona and Sonoran populations, said the researchers at UA's School of Natural Resources.

The study raises questions of whether Sonoran owls can serve as a backstop if Arizona's owl population loses federal protection, said researchers Robert Steidl and Aaron Flesch.

"It concerns me, if we abandon the owls in the United States, what the consequences will be if we rely on birds in Mexico?" said Steidl, an associate wildlife ecology professor.

The male owl count fell from 55 in 2000 to 28 in 2004, in researchers' surveys of four northern Sonora areas within 46 miles of Arizona. In between, the annual counts were 32, 36 and 37.

In the only statewide Sonoran population count, the researchers found 280 owls in 2000. The bird is common in the western Mexican coastal states of Sinaloa and Nayarit.

Arizona's surveyed owl population dropped from 41 in 1999 to 18 each of the past three years, plus 10 total documented sightings on the Tohono O'odham Reservation since 1999.

Today, the listing is in jeopardy from a 2003 federal court ruling that the U.S. government hasn't shown that Arizona owls are a significant and genetically distinct enough population compared with Mexican owls. A final court decision is pending.

Reviewers of this study for the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association concluded that too few owls were surveyed to draw real conclusions, said Roger Yohem, a SAHBA vice president who declined to name the reviewers.

SAHBA's suit has tied up the listing in court, and SAHBA paid for a separate owl study in 2003.

But the new study offers a serious warning that something is going on with the bird, said Jenny Neeley, Southwest associate for Defenders of Wildlife, which has intervened in court to preserve the listing. If the population is falling on both sides of the border, "there's no justification for de-listing," she said.

Even if the listing goes away, importing birds is one of several tools the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will consider to boost Arizona's population. It will decide how at the end of 2005, after making a proposal, getting public comment and ensuring that its plan won't increase land use regulations, said Sherry Barrett, a service field supervisor.

Helping finance the $40,000 study was the Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit at UA. It represents 15 universities, federal agencies and nonprofit groups. T&E Inc., a nonprofit, Albuquerque-based company, and the wildlife service also contributed. The researchers have submitted the study for publication in the Journal of Wildlife Management.

Scott Richardson, a service wildlife biologist, said he won't comment on the study until talking with the researchers or until it completes peer review for publication.

The UA researchers say drought may have helped cause the Sonoran decline. But they also found the drop worsened near farms, timber-cutting, homes and non-native grasses.

It may take more study to determine if this is a long-term decline, the researchers acknowledged. But the number of owls studied isn't the problem, Steidl said. By finding a pattern of decline across northern Sonora, they have enough evidence to know they studied enough owls, he said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; Mexico; News/Current Events; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: environment; esa; owl; pygmy; sonora; spotted

1 posted on 03/07/2005 4:46:57 PM PST by SandRat
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To: HiJinx; Spiff; idratherbepainting; JackelopeBreeder; AZHSer; Sabertooth; Marine Inspector; ...

Honest Pygmy Owls really do taste just like chicken.


2 posted on 03/07/2005 4:47:48 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

Bush's fault. He likes 'em BBQ'd.


3 posted on 03/07/2005 4:51:19 PM PST by Kiss Me Hardy
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To: Kiss Me Hardy

Over Mesquite coals with West Texas B'BQ Sauce.


4 posted on 03/07/2005 4:59:17 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: farmfriend


5 posted on 03/07/2005 5:00:12 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP (Make all taxes truly voluntary)
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To: SandRat; abbi_normal_2; Ace2U; adam_az; Alamo-Girl; Alas; alfons; alphadog; AMDG&BVMH; amom; ...
Rights, farms, environment ping.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.
6 posted on 03/07/2005 5:08:36 PM PST by farmfriend ( Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill?!?)
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To: SandRat
But they also found the drop worsened near farms, timber-cutting, homes andnon-native grasses.

Yeah that's it. The owls only graze on certain native grass.

7 posted on 03/07/2005 5:33:34 PM PST by Vinnie (discrimination)
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To: Vinnie
finicky eating little buggers ain't they?
8 posted on 03/07/2005 5:35:32 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat
I noticed that as soon as they closed Mather AFB the owls were gone. So much for local control.
9 posted on 03/07/2005 6:09:03 PM PST by Domangart
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To: SandRat

Oh, you just had to ping me to this thread, didn't you :)

My screen name is in honor of all the folks who lost their livelihood, thanks to a pest called the spotted owl. Ship the damn things to Sonora, and let the logging industry roll again.

Can you BBQ the darn things??


10 posted on 03/07/2005 6:34:16 PM PST by TheSpottedOwl
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To: SandRat
Honest Pygmy Owls really do taste just like chicken.

When I asked my daughter what we eat with spotted owl she replied, "peas and macaroni". Guess I'm raising her right.......
11 posted on 03/07/2005 7:18:13 PM PST by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: SandRat

The illegal aliens are eating them.


12 posted on 03/07/2005 8:00:23 PM PST by Trteamer ( (Eat Meat, Wear Fur, Own Guns, FReep Leftists, Drive an SUV, Drill A.N.W.R., Drill the Gulf, Vote)
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To: Owl_Eagle

What do you know about this?


13 posted on 03/07/2005 8:02:48 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: Domangart

When it comes to the ENVIROS think RAINBOW SIX


14 posted on 03/07/2005 8:05:02 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: TheSpottedOwl

Yep and the the Woodbadge Patrol name for my class WE4-11-04 Owls and we used the Spotted Owl as our totum.


15 posted on 03/07/2005 8:10:11 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

There's room for all God's creatures . . . right next to the mashed potatoes.


16 posted on 03/07/2005 8:31:15 PM PST by enviros_kill
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To: enviros_kill
With roast owl I prefer twice-baked sweet potatoes and green beans almondine.
17 posted on 03/07/2005 8:34:19 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

Ya think the huge forest fires that wiped out the wildlands two years ago might have something to do with the decline in bird population? I think ecologists should major in biology, not political science.


18 posted on 03/07/2005 10:47:22 PM PST by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: farmfriend

BTTT!!!!!!


19 posted on 03/08/2005 3:05:52 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: Larry Lucido

I lay this and every single other problem related to the Temple University Football Program at the feet of erstwhile sodomite, Temple President David Adamany.

  • Failure to find a Conference?  Blame the Sodomite.
  • Failure to announce the Lincoln Financial Field deal until mid August?  Blame the Sodomite.
  • Coach Bobby Wallace, eight years into his tenure producing one and two win seasons?  Blame the Sodomite.
  • QB Walter Washington foolishly declaring for the draft after his Junior Season?  Blame the Sodomite.
  • Diminishing census of Arizona Nocturnal Avian Predators?  Blame the Sodomite.

Owl_Eagle

"You know, I'm going to start thanking
the woman who cleans the restroom in
the building I work in.  I'm going to start
thinking of her as a human being"

-Hillary Clinton
(Yes, she really said that
Peggy Noonan
The Case Against Hillary Clinton, pg 55)

20 posted on 03/08/2005 6:22:03 AM PST by South Hawthorne (Please: NO profanity, NO personal attacks, NO racism or violence in posts. "Aww. not even a little?")
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To: Trteamer; farmfriend; calcowgirl
RE: OWLS - "The illegal aliens are eating them."

What an OPPORTUNITY...!!!
...Protect the Owls, and Save Social Security, too...!!!


21 posted on 03/08/2005 3:46:43 PM PST by Seadog Bytes ("The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves."-Wm. Hazlitt)
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