Locals get owly over wildlife

By Contributor
February 24th, 2010


In life one thing often leads to another – and that’s how it is with an upcoming owl nest box building workshop in Blueberry Creek near Castlegar. In 2009 a very observant member of the public sighted, and reported, an endangered western screech-owl in the vicinity of Blueberry Creek. This led to the discovery of a breeding pair which initiated close monitoring of the owls and some community outreach work, culminating in this hands-on workshop.


The workshop, to be held on March 10th, is being hosted by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, with support from Columbia Basin Trust and Fortis BC.


“The owl box that participants will build suits a variety of local owl species including northern pygmy and northern saw-whet owl,” says wildlife biologist and co-presenter Doris Hausleitner. “Therefore we are optimistic that they will be used.


“We are very pleased to deliver the workshop here. We have done similar sessions elsewhere and they have been really popular. Just as important is the fact that the community is helping to increase the availability of nesting habitat for a variety of owls.”


Wildlife photographer and biologist Jakob Dulisse will kickoff the workshop with a presentation on owls in the Kootenay region, including some stunning images from a variety of wildlife photographers. The presentation will also update participants on the western screech-owl monitoring work funded by the FWCP.


The FWCP works on behalf of its program partners BC Hydro, the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Fisheries & Oceans Canada, to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife impacted by the construction of BC Hydro dams.


The workshop will be held at the Blueberry Creek Community School starting at 7.00 p.m. Although there is no admission fee for the workshop, if participants would like to build their own box there is a $10 fee to cover the cost of materials. It is a family event and children are welcome.


“We were really grateful to receive information about the sighting from a local resident at the start,” says Dulisse. “In a thorough search for screech-owls last year we only found two other pairs in the entire West Kootenay, so to get this tip has really helped our efforts to better understand, and conserve, this fragile species.”


Additionally all of the landowners in the Blueberry Creek community have allowed the biologists access to their property making this type of research possible.


For more information, or to pre-register, contact the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program at 250-352-6874 or email info@fwcp.ca. If you cannot make it to the workshop, you can download plans to build your own nest box at home at www.fwcp.ca. Also if you are aware of other locations of western screech owls please contact the FWCP office.


Categories: Arts and Culture