Posted by: atowhee | October 6, 2022


I stumbled onto a bluebird hotspot today, thanks to Vaux’s Swifts. Lemme explain. I went out to Pringle Creek Community to see if the large, old brick chimney is still standing there. It’s a remnant from the days of the Oregon state institution there for what were called, in the sensitivity of the 20th Century–“feeble-minded.” The chimney stands. I have yet to see if swifts are using it as a night roost. I will be reporting back to the swift watchers who sent me there in the first place.

In the open area right outside Painters Hall, the Pringle Creek Community Center, there were hunting Western Bluebirds. A maintenance worker told me he loved the birds and was proud of the bird boxes he’d put up for them. I thanked him. Bravo!

Pringle Creek was gurgling energetically and there was a fine riparian corridor with a mix of trees and shrubs including many red-osier dogwoods, berry endearing for this season.

The chimney will host no swifts, ever. It is sealed on top. It was to serve the boiler room built over a century ago to supply hot water to the laundry and then steam to nearby residences.

Pringle Creek Community, Marion, Oregon, US
Oct 6, 2022
5 species [this is only the 9th checklist ever submitted for this eBird hotspot, and upped Pringle Creek’s species total from 30 to 33! More to come.]

Steller’s Jay  2
European Starling  1
Western Bluebird  2
Cedar Waxwing  40
Dark-eyed Junco  10

Pringle Creek Community–click here.
The state institution that built the tall chimney sometime after 1907. Click here.


This press release from KSWild:

OCTOBER 4, 2022

Late Friday, a judge in the District Court for the District of Oregon ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) justification for Bureau of Land Management (Bureau) timber sales totaling nearly 18,000 acres including in old growth forest violated the Endangered Species Act. The judge ruled against the Service’s claim that old-growth logging in the Poor Windy and Evans Creek [southern Oregon] timber sales on 15,848 acres of threatened northern spotted owl habitat would not harm the imperiled bird species.

Conservation Director George Sexton in old growth forest included in the Late Mungers Timber Sale within the Poor Windy planning areas.

“While we are pleased with this result, it goes to show how emboldened our public land managers have become in pursuing the almighty board-foot, that they are willing to tell the American people and a federal judge that logging thousands of acres of habitat occupied by a threatened species like the northern spotted owl will cause zero ‘harm,’” said Sangye Ince-Johannsen, attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center. “The agencies’ singular focus on extraction over stewardship should concern every Oregonian, but today I’m grateful the law forbids that in some cases.”   

“This ruling should serve as a wake-up call to the BLM,” said George Sexton, conservation director for KS Wild. “It’s time for the BLM to work with stakeholders to thin second-growth timber plantations to reduce fire hazard instead of chasing around controversial old-growth timber sales in the backcountry.”

Judge Aiken also found that the Bureau and the Service illegally failed to consult on the effects of the East Evans Creek and Milepost 97 wildfires that actively burned the timber sale area as the Service concluded its evaluation. The Milepost 97 fire burned 4,706 acres of northern spotted owl habitat and reduced canopy closure below 40% in a narrow but vitally important east-west habitat bridge. 

“These are fire-prone, dry areas, and we opposed this massive logging project because it would increase fire risks and hazards for the surrounding community,” said Nick Cady with Cascadia Wildlands. “The agencies keep pushing logging projects that are putting our communities at risk, and it is past time that fire impacts drive our land management decisions, especially on public lands.”

Finally, Judge Aiken faulted the agencies for failing to analyze the effect of habitat loss resulting from these logging projects on the competitive interactions between the barred and spotted owl. 

Judge Aiken wrote that the Service “was not faced with scientific uncertainty, but unanimity concerning the negative impact of reduced [nesting, roosting, and foraging] habitat and the barred owls’ threat to the spotted owl based on the barred owls’ ability to out-compete for food and shelter,” order at 23. “In offering an explanation counter to the evidence after considering important aspects of the problem, [the Service] ultimately minimized the effect of the action and its conclusions are not supported by the evidence,’” order at 22.

“The agencies need to recognize that when two territorial species are competing for the same rare old-growth habitat, any reduction of habitat from logging will increase the chances of extinction.” said Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild.

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