Umpqua Birds
Birds and Birding in Douglas County, Oregon
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BIRDS BANDED OR ENCOUNTERED IN DOUGLAS COUNTY, OREGON

Birds are banded by licensed banders and apprentices for a variety of research and monitoring purposes. Some examples include Band-tailed Pigeons at mineral sites, Spotted Owls in long-term research programs, and songbirds at MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) stations. When these birds are recaptured or merely observed elsewhere, the event is called an "encounter" in banding data terminology. Depending on the measurements taken from the bird at the time, many different things can be learned, such as age and distance traveled. Following is a feature article on a particularly fascinating occurrence here in Douglas County, followed by summaries of information on birds banded in or encountered in Douglas County, Oregon. To delve into all the data available on these birds, explore the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Lab website.

A Burrowing Owl from British Columbia!

The curious faces in the top photo are nestling Burrowing Owls, just banded and placed back in their artificial nest burrow in British Columbia, July 9, 2013....

In late December 2013 a private landowner west of Roseburg called Mark Hamm about an owl. Mark visited and saw that it was a Burrowing Owl. The landowner said the bird was present since mid-December 2013. The bird had a band number which Mark painstakingly read and this allowed the Bird Banding Lab to put Mark and I in touch with the original bander, as well as over a dozen other Burrowing Owl researchers interested in this owl. Here is a summary:

The owl and its siblings were hatched June 12, 2013, and banded as nestlings July 9, 2013, at Quilchena Ranch, east of Nicola Lake, s. British Columbia, Canada. Our bird was one of 4 in the nest and weighed 162 grams. The tarsus was too short and fat for the green/black band that they usually put on the right leg of Burrowing Owls in B.C., so that is why it is absent and only the aluminum band was on the owl. The majority of juveniles have a more elongated tarsus at that age. This bird was part of a reintroduction program in B.C. (please check out www.burrowingowlbc.org). The parents of this bird were introduced there, nested in an artificial burrow, and this bird was wild-born to the introduced parents.

It is about 500 miles straight-line from its origin to here in Douglas County, Oregon. The researchers, as well as we, wonder what route the bird used to get down here. This winter the B.C. Burrowing Owl folks have also had reports of two of the Nicola Valley owls on Vancouver Island, B.C.: one at Tofino (Pacific Ocean side) and one at Comox (Strait of Georgia side).

In January, we collected about a dozen pellets from the day roost of the owl. Elva Paulson and I, and later my kids, went through about a dozen pellets. The most common pieces in the pellets were of several types of black ground beetle. Also present were the pincers of earwigs. One pellet had many bones of a small bird, possibly a sparrow. One pellet had bones of a very small (very young) vole. Much of the pellets were just "soft stuff" that Elva thought might be the contents of nightcrawler guts.

The owl was last seen at its winter home west of Roseburg in mid-February. We hope it safely makes it to its breeding grounds.

Photos of the owl and pellets can be seen here.

Birds Banded in Douglas County

The illustration below displays the number of birds banded within 10-minute Lat-Long quadrants in Douglas County. To see the species that were banded and numbers of each, click here.


This figure is a screen shot of an excel spreadsheet created by Danny Bystrak at the Bird Banding Lab.

Birds Banded in Douglas County and Encountered Elsewhere

The illustration below displays the number of birds banded within 10-minute Lat-Long quadrants in Douglas County that have been encountered outside Douglas County. To see the species that were banded and where they were encountered, click here.


This figure is a screen shot of an excel spreadsheet created by Danny Bystrak at the Bird Banding Lab.

Banded Birds Encountered in Douglas County

The following illustration displays the number of banded birds encountered within 10-minute Lat-Long quadrants in Douglas County. To see a list of the species encountered and the region of origin, click here.


This figure is a screen shot of an excel spreadsheet created by Danny Bystrak at the Bird Banding Lab.

Matthew G. Hunter
Wildlife Ecologist/Birding Guide
matthewghunter@gmail.com, 541-670-1984
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