[Tweeters] Short-eared Owl Survey

Buchanan, Joseph B (DFW) Joseph.Buchanan at dfw.wa.gov
Mon Mar 9 16:06:09 PDT 2020

Tweeters -
I posted a message about the Short-eared Owl survey in January and I am sending out a reminder about the project. The survey season has just started and we have five random grid cell locations in eastern Washington that remain available for volunteers. The five sites that remain are briefly described below, followed by a copy of the original Tweeters post.
WA-08: This is the Badger Mountain area across the Columbia River from Wenatchee.
WA-15: Centered along I-90 between Moses Lake and Ritzville (the survey would not be done along I-90!).
WA-33: West of Pomeroy.
WA-41: Between Marengo and Ralston
WA-49: Northeast of Pomeroy

Original post:
We are again conducting a survey for Short-eared Owls at 50 survey locations in eastern Washington. The overall study area includes parts of eight western states (California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming); last year the survey involved over 600 volunteers across the eight states. The survey is road-based and consists of a route with 9 - 11 stations visited once during each of two survey windows: 1 - 21 March and 22 March - 15 April. Each survey has a specific start time and takes no more than 90 minutes to complete (evening/dusk). In 2018, volunteers established survey routes within 50 randomly-selected grid cell locations. (Grid cells are outlined in red lines on the survey maps.) Survey stations were situated at 0.5-mile intervals and were established in safe settings (e.g., wide shoulder) adjacent to appropriate cover types. Cover types used by Short-eared Owls in this study include: grasslands, marsh, riparian and agricultural areas. The location of survey stations can be modified slightly by volunteers from those used in 2018 or 2019 as long as stations remain within the bounds of the grid cell and are the same for each site visit in 2020.
Volunteer participants will conduct surveys by stopping at stations to search for Short-eared Owls from the roadside, followed by a short assessment of vegetation cover types in the vicinity of the station. Volunteers must provide their own transportation, and be able to identify Short-eared Owls, follow the survey protocol, and register for a survey location online. Training videos that describe all aspects of the project and data collection procedures are available on the project website (<http://avianknowledgenorthwest.net/citizen-science/short-eared-owls>). To register, scroll down the main page and click the WAfLS sign-up button (lower left). The page that pops up will include a map of western USA that shows all routes when you zoom in. Below the map, click on "Washington sign-up page." That link will show a sequential list of survey sites (WA-1, WA-2, etc., up to WA-50 [note that sites in the WA-81 range are not available for volunteers]); green buttons on the right side indicate survey routes that are still available. The 2018 and 2019 project reports are also on the website. I am available to answer questions about the project.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.
Joe Buchanan
Washington Coordinator, Western Asio flammeus Landscape Survey (WAfLS)
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Joseph.Buchanan at dfw.wa.gov<mailto:Joseph.Buchanan at dfw.wa.gov>

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