The Owls Group of Nature Folks
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:
- Travel agent services for local field trips and tours
- Field trips (catered, hotel, trip, observation, education, and recreational one-night "events")
- Photo sales
- Photo opportunities
- Bird Life-list building
- Owl-based tourism (to see the owls of the world with The Tours Group)
- Promotion of the night time world of nature
- Promoting inclusion of lunar forces in ecosystem considerations and studies
- Sale of night-observation equipment
- Publications on owls and their ecology
- Publications on predator-prey relations
- Art sales (painting, sculpture, photographs)
- Wilderness/remote area camping expeditions with owls as a major goal
- Sale or rent of "calling" equipment. Web-page interactions for members with emphasis on owl observations and timing of local events (phenology)
- Food habit studies
- Interaction with the Wildland Knowledge Base
- Sale of screech-owl nesting boxes (see Products Group)
- Service (installation and maintenance) of owl boxes
- Sale of management plans for owls
- Foundation support and memorials (see Memorials)
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.
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.
|There is still magic in campfires
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:
- Maximize profits from an owl-based diverse raptor resource management system.
- Maximize research findings (conclusions) over a long period.
- Minimize the time from research "discovery" to application.
- Improve the status of raptors in the U.S.
- Increase knowledge of raptor management and predator foods and feeding.
- Develop a comprehensive computer model representing owl abundance and dynamics within an ecosystem, dynamic over 200 years.
- Advance predator-prey theory, especially its application.
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.
We propose to develop a series of activities and projects such as:
- Nest Building - We shall design and erect platforms and nests and provide conditions for nesting. This will involve optimal spacing, density, and maintenance.
- Nest Maintenance - We shall contract to provide nest maintenance, particularly cleaning and repair.
- Breeding - We shall seek mans to breed and raise cost-effectively in captivity these birds. These will be for research as well as management.
- Lectures - We shall offer public lectures for fees using live birds (with legal permits) as exhibits.
- Shows - We shall exhibit birds at shows, fairs, etc., with lectures and educational programs.
- Calling Contests - We shall design and conduct a profitable owl-calling contest. We'll seek to gain control over rights to such contests, e.g., through trademark "franchise."
- Elderly - We shall promote "pet" owls or hawks for homes of elderly and shut-ins (wild owls attracted to boxes or feeders). We'll provide supplies, care, and lectures for such groups.
- Osprey Management - The osprey, of "fish hawk," obviously not an owl, once endangered, is the target of a specialized, species-specific service and project. This is for people or corporations with relatively large water bodies or a desire to have ospreys. This may require creating or modifying a pond or wetland with a dike. It will include nests, forage fish management, and viewing areas or telescopes.
- Insects - Insects associated with the raptors will be collected and collections sold to collectors and biological supply houses(e.g., feather louse) via the Butterfly Band.
- Books - Books will be published for profit.
- Articles - Articles with photographs will be published for profit.
- Photographs - Photographers will be given access to raptor "models" and habitats for a fee. Contests will be sponsored.
- Impact Analyses - Inputs to impact assessments or statements involving raptors will be sought and information provided for a fee.
- Life History - Reports and analyses from computer-based information systems will be provided. Original work will be sponsored through The Memorials Group.
- Supplies - We'll sell supplies of all types for raptor fanciers (e.g., food, perches, falconry materials, and radios).
- Magazine - We'll publish a newsletter, see if it evolves to a magazine, and sell related magazines supportive of the Owls Group concepts.
- Management Plans - We'll develop comprehensive land management plans for farms, ranches, and forests that emphasize the raptor and include GIS maps of occurrence and suitable habitats.
- Vertebrate Damage Management - The roles of raptors in pest management are poorly known or utilized. The may be of use to haze blackbirds or to reduce rodents in crop fields. The role needs work and may be integrated with other damage control activities.
- Monitoring - Landowners may need protection against claims that their practices are harming owl populations. Certified, bonded monitors can provide appropriate reports using approved (Max et al. 1990), as well as advanced procedures developed by The Owls Group.
- Falconry - Birds for falconry may be trained and sold.
- Training - schools for falconry amateurs and others will be held for fees. Books, articles, materials and birds will be sold.
- T and E Work - Recovery plans, managerial work, and research on threatened and endangered species will be done whenever feasible.
- Perches - Perches will be sold and installed on select areas to create highly nitrogenous centers for vegetation.
- Tours - Owls are widespread in the world a life-list program will allow a series of extended tours (e.g., in China) to see all of the owls of the world. A U.S. life-list group will be formed and an honored membership roll will be kept on the web. Special tours are developed, first for Belize (Gallon Jug), China (5 tour routes), India (northern India; Dehra Dun), and Senegal (Nikolokoba Park).
- Equipment sources for some activities are available.
- Develop sales outlet for Owls of the World: Their Lives, Behavior and Survival
by James R. Duncan published by Firefly Books, Sept. 2003
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 (email@example.com )
Perhaps you will share ideas with me about some of the topic(s) above . Write to RHGiles [at] ruralsystem dot com
Robert H. Giles, Jr.
July 2, 2005, May, 2008