WC and Mrs. WC volunteered to participate in a Short-eared Owl study. Our study tract is a bit north and west of Boise, in the Weiser River valley. It was a good excuse to do some birding up there before the early evening owl count.
It was mostly grey and often raining, which accounts for the flat light all these photos. While we saw a nice sampling of birds, most of the photos ended up being upland birds.
Of course, what these four species have in common is that they were all introduced; none is native to Idaho; only the Wild Turkey is even native to North America. All were introduced for hunters. All are now established, breeding populations. It’s hard to know the impact on the native birds. But it’s interesting that we didn’t see any native upland species at all;1 no Sage Grouse, no Ruffed Grouse, no Mountain Quail.
The Wild Turkey flock we encountered had at least 100 birds. The habitat obviously supports substantial number of ground foragers. But from what we saw, the foreigners may be out-competing the locals.
Or maybe the geezer is just being a wheezer.
- Well, we saw California Quail, but only after dark, when the light was too low for photography. ↩