Tales from the Wildside
The Nocturnal Owl Survey is an annual event by the Rainy River Valley Field Naturalists (RRVFN).
An identification workshop to teach new volunteers how to conduct the Owl Survey was forced to be cancelled due to COVID-19. However, anyone not in isolation can go out anjoy the sounds of the forest.
Some people will tell you that all owls hoot. Not true. A variety of sounds echo through the forest as the male defends its territory. For example, the smallest owl in this district, the saw-whet, produces a unique call that can be heard for several kilometers. You will hear it at the workshop.
Members of our club who drive along the established routes listen in anticipation for the calls. Over the years the number of owls on each route has been good, but last year some routes only had one or two owls.
Most bird populations have fallen. More than two million birds have disappeared in the last several decades. The question is “why?” Several reasons have been given: migrants to the south have been caught in tornadoes; birds crash into buildings and windmills; predators eat them; many die from diseases such as West Nile and the flu (H1N1). But probably the destruction of habitat and the use of pesticides on crops, in the forest and along hydro lines account for most deaths.
The following information is not about wildlife but is “wild.” The US Environmental Agency has calculated that the average car has fuel economy of about 22 miles per gallon and drives about 11,500 miles each year. Each one produces more than 10,000 pounds of CO2 (4.6 metric tons.)