[Tweeters] re: Sensitive Species in eBird

Scott Downes downess at charter.net
Fri Nov 17 17:34:18 PST 2017

Wanted to add that while it is a very good goal to protect these species, these are also species that a great many of our fellow birders have had immense joy from seeing. I would hope we could find a balance between obscuring the location for protection and not making these a situation where only the people who know the right person will get to see them. While these species may be at risk throughout their time in our state, I would also recommend that we remember the different life cycles at which they are seen. A wintering great gray owl in a field is not breeding or possibly even on its breeding territory. Yes, it is at risk from harassment, though much the same level as other species not on this list such as snowy owl. My point is that harassment of the owl during the winter may cause the owl to move and in an extreme case could cause that one individual to die, disturbance at a nest may cause nest abandonment and loss of productivity that year. It is also worth keeping in mind that species on or not on this list don’t necessarily reflect the true nature of sensitive species in WA. Washington has two state listed species found here in eastern WA that are doing very poorly in their populations, yet neither are on this list, greater sage-grouse and ferruginous hawk. Nesting or lek location of either is probably a more sensitive issue than a wintering gyrfalcon or great gray owl whose overall populations are healthier. So, while the list is a good measure it would help to continue to think about these other aspects to fully help to protect some of our sensitive species in Washington.

Scott Downes
downess at charter.net
Yakima WA

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