From February 6 to March 29, 2006, Phase I of the Nimpkish Owl Survey was conducted on TFL 37 on northern Vancouver Island by WRM Resource Consulting, Ltd. for Western Forest Products Inc. (WFP). The survey is to be completed in two phases: Phase II is scheduled to be completed in April 2006. Phase I consists of two survey censuses, while Phase II will consist of one census. Each census includes surveying each of ten survey transects one time. The 2006 owl inventory was part of WFPs commitment to monitoring the effectiveness of ecosystem-based management under their Sustainable Forest Management Plan. Canadian Forest Products Ltd. (CanFor) began long-term monitoring of owls in 2002 (Smith, 2003), but had completed previous owl inventories on TFL 37 in 1993, 1995, 1996 and 1997 (AXYS, 1998; Deal and Lamont, 1996; Matkoski, 1997). Surveying is split into two phases for 2006 (as was the 2004 and 2005 surveys) due to fiscal year considerations. Both phases have been funded by the Forest Investment Account (FIA). Surveying targeted all five owl species known to occur in the Nimpkish Valley: northern pygmy-owl (Glaucidium gnoma swarthi); northern saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus); western screech-owl (Otus kennicottii kennicottii); barred owl (Strix varia); and, great horned owl (Bubo virginianus). All but the northern pygmy-owl, are yellow-listed in B.C. according to the Conservation Data Centre (2003) and the populations are therefore considered to be secure and not at risk of extinction. The swarthi subspecies of the northern pygmy-owl occurs only on Vancouver Island (Fraser et al., 1999) and is blue-listed in B.C. as vulnerable, or particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events (Fraser et al., 1999). Each survey used a series of ten road transects of ten points each, with each point placed approximately 1.6 km apart, for an approximate total length of 14.4 km for each transect. Surveyors listened for voluntary owl calls for two minutes, then played a series of three northern pygmy owl recordings on a portable tape player, with 30 seconds of silence in between, followed by a further three minutes of listening. The same procedure was completed for the remaining four owl species listed above, in the order listed. Sixty-one owls in total were detected at the 200 points surveyed during Phase I of the 2006 Nimpkish Owl Survey, including 20 northern pygmy-owls, 19 northern saw-whet owls, 15 western screech-owls, seven barred owls and zero great horned owls. Fourteen of the 61 owl detections were voluntary (i.e. calls were heard before call playback) and 47 were responses to tape playback.
prepared by Wayne R. Matkoski.
Matkoski, Wayne R., WRM Resource Consulting Ltd.. 2006. Monitoring forest owls in TFL 37, Northern Vancouver Island: 2005 final report. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program - Innovative. Forest Investment Account Report