May 03 2008

Where is that Owl?

Published by at 8:07 am under Owl Habitat,Waterfront Planning

1 Owl – 8.0 Acres – $125,700

Would someone please educate me on this whole burrowing owl plan. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything about the burrowing owl or its habitat – not for lack of trying though.

I can’t find much from the newspapers, council meeting minutes or the waterfront plans.

What I have found out is  The Environmentalists: “ were also concerned about the potential impacts of developing the Gilman Street site because a burrowing owl was spotted there two years ago. No nests were found, however, and plans now call for burrowing owl habitat to be enhanced and protected at the Albany plateau.”

So, okay I got it – A burrowing owl was spotted two years ago, and no nests were found.

Albany Waterfront coalition says “This was a trade-off agreed on when the future ballfields . were planned: It is hoped that Burrowing Owls on the ballfields will choose to relocate to the Plateau.”

Seems that single owl spotted some two years ago is now plural and there is hope they will relocate.

Please someone tell me – help me to understand.

Just where is that Burrowing Owl now? And what are the chances of a successful relocation which would warrant 8.0 acres of land?

Is it simply a matter of “If we build it they will come”?’

I can’t imagine it is as easy as that – especially after reading an article “Passive Relocation: A Method to Preserve Burrowing Owls on a Disturbed Site” – a relocation protocol used at sites in the Bay Area “to relocate birds living in burrow directly in the path of commercial development”. Guidelines recommend surveys on site and artificial burrowns placed close to the burrows to be destroyed.

So far I can’t find anything about surveys or artificial burrows at the site of the Berkeley Sports Fields.

Again, I repeat – ONE owl spotted TWO YEARS ago, NO nests found = Fencing off 8.0 acres of land – at an expense of $125,700? And where is that Owl?!


3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Where is that Owl?”

  1. Phil Priceon 15 May 2008 at 3:24 pm

    My blog, the Bay Area Bird Blog, has some posts on this subject. A City of Berkeley report on the owls at the Gilman Street site is on the City’s website; some other relevant reports are on there too, you can look around. Burrowing owls (plural) were seen at the site by birders in 2003 and 2004 (and maybe earlier, for all I know); this year there were four burrowing owls at Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley, across the cove from the playing fields site (my blog has some information about the problems they’ve had there).

    In short, there are multiple burrowing owls in the area, but no guarantee that the habitat creation plan will succeed.

  2. adminon 15 May 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks for your comment Phil.

    There is an interesting discussion/reply on Phil’s blog “Ridiculous whining about Burrowing Owl habitat creation” from Clay Larson, a member of Albany’s Waterfront Committee.

  3. Mackenzie Sowerson 17 Jul 2008 at 1:13 pm

    The Park is actually not legally supposed to create playing feilds, and at the waterfront commitee meeting on monday, it seemed like they were not going to, since it wasn’t really allowed anyways.

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