May Membership Meeting: The Burrowing Owl in Washington State

Thursday, May 18th:  “The Burrowing Owl in Washington State” presented by Glen Mendel. Meeting starts at  7 p.m.
Olin Hall, Room 129 on the Whitman College campus.

Zoom Link:

Glen stated:  “I became concerned about the status of the Burrowing Owl, especially because of all the recent proposed solar developments, plus more solar projects and other developments planned or expected in eastern WA within the next decade or so. Therefore, I decided to find out as much as I could about burrowing owls in WA. I contacted experts and agencies involved with monitoring burrowing owls and I also conducted an extensive literature review regarding these owls over 4+ months. I compiled observational data, pertinent literature and unpublished reports, as well as personal communications with experts, into a technical report that provides a summary of this owl’s status and trends, and what limits or threatens this species. This summary information has been submitted to the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife for consideration of possibly listing this species as either sensitive or threatened in Washington.”

The slide presentation includes many photos of burrowing owls, and a summary of pertinent information regarding their life history and conservation status, with some recommendations of how we can help monitor and save this species.

Glen Mendel became interested in burrowing owls while living in the Imperial Valley of southern California, not far from the Mexican border. When he was a freshman in high school he noticed these owls were quite common, and they often could be observed during the day spaced rather uniformly on fence posts or other low structures along the highway near his home. He moved to many other locations after his Sophomore year, but continued to pay some attention to burrowing owls and their declining numbers and shrinking distribution.

Glen has a Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Biology and Fish and Wildlife Management, and an MS degree in Wildlife Science – all from the University of Idaho. He worked as a fish and wildlife biologist for over 33 years, most of which was with the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), in southeast WA. He served as a District Habitat biologist, a hatchery evaluation biologist, and a District Fish Management Biologist for WDFW. He remains engaged in wildlife conservation efforts through several regional and statewide conservation committees as a volunteer plus this burrowing owl status review project. He also volunteers for several non-profit organizations, including Blue Mountain Audubon.

Burrowing Owl

Glen Mendel,
all photos courtesy of Glen Mendel

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