DPP_86Just wanted to let you all know that we had a very successful weekend preparing the sites in the Nicola Valley, British Columbia, in advance of next weekend’s burrowing owl releases. The students from British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and their professors, Doug Ransome and Ken Ashley, all pitched in, setting up the soft release cages, cleaning burrows and doing habitat checks at the sites – Deleeuw’s, Haughtons and Guichon A and B.  Chris Currie was also there from BCIT, adding another layer of experience. It was great to see him back, hammering in spikes and leading a group.

Lia and Lauren have been up for a few days before and after Sunday’s work party, and they are doing a fantastic job. It’s hard work, compounded by the fact that it’s cold and very windy. (Hard days on the lonesome prairie!). They deserve a big thanks from all of us as they show great dedication…I was very impressed with their thoroughness!

Burrowing Owl (Male), Farm Road Off SR17, Near Othello, WashingtonWe were all buoyed by some very good news this year. The returns are way up!. Over 11 owls have returned to the south Okanagan sites, Dave is reporting about 5 pairs at Lac du Bois (maybe more), and we may have close to 20 owls back in the Nicola Valley. (Sorry I don’t have final numbers as there are a few sites yet to be checked. At this point, however, we are looking at over 40 returns, which is outstanding…about double our best season!
Next Friday, all the owls for release will be assembled at the BC Wildlife Park, to be processed, paired and banded. We will be attempting to get them out into their new release sites as quickly as possible. More birds than usual will be hard released , as we have more males than normal…and, with the number of return owls, it is getting a bit problematic locating the soft release cages so as not to interfere with the return birds. It’s a problem I think we can all be grateful for!