“We’re actually doing 14 different projects, which involve everything from habitat restoration and conservation through to environmental monitoring and community education. I just wanted to highlight some of those projects,”she explained.Continue reading What FOCI Achieved in 2023
A provincial biologist visited Cortes Island over the weekend. Emily Upham-Mills is an ecosystems biologist with the Ministry of Water, Lands and Natural Resource Stewardship and an important member of the team working with the Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) on the Western Screech Owl Project.
Helen Hall, Executive Director of FOCI, explained, “Emily very kindly came up on the weekend to talk to the community. This project is really important for FOCI. We’re doing really interesting scientific work and that data is going back both provincially and federally. It puts us in the spotlight with this particular species. It’s a project that’s running for three years. We’re in the second year of trying to discover whether there are Western Screech Owls on Cortes Island.”Continue reading Provincial Biologist visits Cortes Island; Second Western Screech Owl discovered
Field biologist Sabina Leader Mense reports, “I was sitting in the skiff with my husband Dennis, under an unbelievably brilliant sky of stars. It was the last station of the night, pushing midnight, and in the 16th minute of that 17 minute call playback sequence, I heard something. I remember pivoting around in the boat. The sound was behind me and you do what owls do, you turn around. I think your ears and the muscles and your ears cup and you’re just straining to hear something. Then I heard the call again. It was very distant, but I recognized it was an owl. I began analyzing the audio disks in my head going, ‘is it a Northern Pygmy Owl? Is it a Northern Saw-Whet Owl?’ As I was doing this, it called the third time and I recognized it was a Western Screech Owl.”Continue reading Success: The search for Western Screech Owls on Cortes Island
In 2021, the Friends of Cortes Island received funding from the Habitat Stewardship Program to seek out the elusive Western Screech Owls. This research is being guided by the Pacific Megascops Research Alliance, and biologists from the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship are part of the team. The first season was spring 2022.Continue reading Search for the elusive Western Screech Owl