Rural System's

The Owls Group of Nature Folks


Giles photo, 1955, screech owl






The Owls Group
is a proposed for-profit enterprise relating to all aspects of people's great interests in owls. The enterprise is being designed and planned as part of Rural System. The organization sponsors "owl trips" as a primary activity but it has a diverse set of tactics all aimed at improved, comprehensive faunal resource and rural resource management with an emphasis on a single species.

The potential activities, services, and products of The Owls Group are:

  1. Travel agent services for local field trips and tours
  2. Field trips (catered, hotel, trip, observation, education, and recreational one-night "events")
  3. Photo sales
  4. Photo opportunities
  5. Newsletter
  6. Research
  7. Bird Life-list building
  8. Owl-based tourism (to see the owls of the world with The Tours Group)
  9. Promotion of the night time world of nature
  10. Promoting inclusion of lunar forces in ecosystem considerations and studies
  11. Sale of night-observation equipment
  12. Publications on owls and their ecology
  13. Publications on predator-prey relations
  14. Art sales (painting, sculpture, photographs)
  15. Wilderness/remote area camping expeditions with owls as a major goal
  16. Sale or rent of "calling" equipment. Web-page interactions for members with emphasis on owl observations and timing of local events (phenology)
  17. Food habit studies
  18. Interaction with the Wildland Knowledge Base
  19. Sale of screech-owl nesting boxes (see Products Group)
  20. Service (installation and maintenance) of owl boxes
  21. Sale of management plans for owls
  22. Foundation support and memorials (see Memorials)

Scenario

A trip, for example, would include a meal for thirty clients gathered at a nearby restaurant and motel. After introductions and a dinner, the group would hear a brief talk and see slides of owls, and afterwards board a bus. During the 20-minute bus drive, a staff member of The Owls Group describes the organization and its objectives, and gives a wonderfully-crafted lecture on the great horned owl, barred owl, and screech owl. At Stop #1, all leave the bus, walk over a trail to a quiet spot and an electronic device is played and barred owls respond (usually). Questions are answered and further information is given about the owl. At another stop (how the forests are very dark) the group huddles in the quiet and other owls are "called up"- said by some to be the thrill of a lifetime.
There is still magic in campfires
The group moves to a campfire site, enjoys the fire, stories, and a little country music. Some play new games with GlowOwl balls. All then board the comfortable bus for the trip back to the motel. Information on owl studies is provided on the return trip. Those wishing to do so may observe owl habitat and management activities on any daytime tour, often taken the day following the evening tour.

Owl Notes

An owl can hear sounds 10 times more faint than people can detect.
They have extra large ear openings with feathers that tend to funnel sound.
The ear feathers do not have barbules (hooks that zip feathers together to make a wind resistant cover).
Owls have a moveable flap of tissue around the ear, controlled by muscles. It protects the ear and funnels sound coming from behind the bird.
Asymmetrical ear openings allow the bird to pinpoint sound. The compact feathers around the eyes collect and funnel sound to the ears.
Owls are believed to see little color.
Their light sensitivity is 10 times that of people.

All activities includes sales, memberships, and contacts for future trips and other relations elsewhere in Nature Folks.

There are 37 species or subspecies of owls in the Western U.S., 12 (some the same) in the Eastern U.S. Sixteen species breed regularly in the U.S. The spotted owl has been at the center of land use controversies for over a decade. Great interest in owls exists around the world; some are threatened, others are abundant and are important in ecosystems. Several occur in cities.

The Owls Group is a new enterprise created and devoted to gaining maximum long-term human benefits from the owl and raptor resources of the world. It also seeks to make profit from such activity. Its initial emphasis is on owls of Eastern Tennessee. The raptors, the hawks, eagles, owls and vultures, are a significant part of the wildlife resource. The Owls Group is being developed due to a belief that these birds are not being managed adequately or successfully. Certainly, their potential as an international modern resource has not been achieved. To begin to meet perceived needs and to begin to improve resource use, The Owls Group was created.

Designed as a system, the general properties and concepts for development include:

Objectives

  1. Maximize profits from an owl-based diverse raptor resource management system.
  2. Maximize research findings (conclusions) over a long period.
  3. Minimize the time from research "discovery" to application.
  4. Improve the status of raptors in the U.S.
  5. Increase knowledge of raptor management and predator foods and feeding.
  6. Develop a comprehensive computer model representing owl abundance and dynamics within an ecosystem, dynamic over 200 years.
  7. Advance predator-prey theory, especially its application.

Inputs

The staff of the Owls Group seeks research grants to achieve some of the objectives and to support and allow achievement of the others. The funds gained are expected to pay salaries and wages for those conducting the research. Research will be in response to requests for proposals when available, but the key pathways are those discovered by comprehensive models and sensitivity analyses. A Foundation will accept money, gifts, lands, services, and equipment all directed toward the goals. Named fellowships and named properties (e.g., the A.B.C. Memorial Raptor Management Area) will be sought and utilized to meet the objectives of the program.

Processes

We propose to develop a series of activities and projects such as:

See Global Owl Project (David H. Johnson. Executive Director, 6504 Carriage Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22310 USA ) web site http://globalowlproject.com and Festival of Owls

See www.TheOwlCam.Com and source (owlguy@theowlcam.com )

Perhaps you will share ideas with me about some of the topic(s) above . Write to RHGiles [at] ruralsystem dot com

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Robert H. Giles, Jr.
July 2, 2005, May, 2008