The Elusive Northwest Spotted Owl in Tigard

12 10 2019

It never seizes to amaze me what thrives within Tigard OR, wooded trail systems. During a rare moment in time my wife Beth and I were walking our dogs on the genesis path that runs parallel to Fonner Street when we heard the distinct hooty-hoot of an owl. At that moment our Irish setter Molly stopped in perfect pointer stance with head drawn upward. We followed in suit and what we saw next was amazing. Not further than 20 feet away, and about the same distance up and off the trail – There it was perched ready for a photo… a NW spotted owl.

The Pacific NW is home to old growth forest filled with a multitude of natural resources. Within the old growth forests still dwell the elusive spotted owl. It was more than 20 years ago when the northern spotted owl was listed under the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species in Washington, Oregon, and California. “Today, the spotted owl is stable in a few areas and declining in most others. The two main threats to its survival are habitat loss and competition from the barred owl, a relative from eastern North America that has progressively encroached into the spotted owl.”

https://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/species/Data/NorthernSpottedOwl/main.asp

These owls are still a protected class of bird and nearly as hard to come across as a big foot. Of course the difference here, no ones ever captured a Squatch or Yeti to prove their existence. The thing that captured my immediate focus were those menacing black eyes. Childhood memories of tales of the crypt and sleepy hollow immediately came to mind with an owl you don’t cross paths, especially on the eve of Halloween.   

Walk natural trail systems for daily exercise. But take a camera, you just never know, you may run across an amazing moment photo op.

We’ve both seen owls before, but never this close and never a spotted one. In the moment I thought “why I picked today to leave my Nikon camera at home,” I’ll never know. Fortunately, like the speed and precision of Annie Oakley, the famous markswoman who worked with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the 1880s, Beth drew her weapon of choice – the iPhone.

She shot a perfect picture in seconds and without delay before it took flight. My only regret was not capturing it’s nearly 4 foot wingspan taking flight through the woods on video as it cleared the tree canopy. I’m hopeful there’ll be a next time since it appears likely at least one of these birds maybe a seasonal visitor or resident of Tigard’s old growth forest.

Now go and get your walk on daily to stay fit healthy. And don’t forget to have a camera ready while hiking the great NW. Sasquatch is out there somewhere.

Good health to you and your family.

10/18/19 – Recent update on this article. It has been brought to my attention the image of the spotted owl photograph taken in Tigard is likely an interbreed barred-spotted owl, or barred owl.

NW Spotted Owl

What we’ve learned by one local bird expert who chimed in on the within NextDoor social chat sight and has decades of experience writes, “Barred Owls have a paler crown with brown scalloping vs dark brown with small white spots. Their facial discs are paler than Spotted. Spotted Owls are very nocturnal and do not call except at night while Barred Owls often sit out in the open and call during daylight hours.

NW Barred Owl

The second local expert also has decades of bird watching experience sent TigardLife the following reply, ” We have several [barred owls] in Durham City Park, for example. The Northern Spotted Owl is a rare and declining resident of deep older-growth forests. Part of their decline is due to logging and forest fragmentation, but an additional factor is competition and even interbreeding from the closely-related but more aggressive Barred Owl.

Distinguishing attribute markers for both owls, “Both birds have a classic, round owl face and dark eyes. The barred owl has creamy breast feathers marked with vertical bars of brown, while the spotted owl, like a negative image of that, is mostly brown with a Morse code of white dots and horizontal dashes” [as defined by Google search].

Photo by Beth Woodard – Spotted, Barred or Inter-breed … you decide

This article presents a teachable moment! You decide what type of owl is in the photograph captured by Elizabeth Woodard, a spotted owl, barred owl, or interbreed owl. One thing both bird experts had in common, they didn’t believe it was a spotted owl. However without a front breast shot of the owl it’s a harder call to make.

You decide what’s more likely. Is owl in the picture at the beginning of the story a spotted owl, barred owl, or interbreed owl.

To learn more about the spotted and barred owl contact the Portland Audubon Society on NW Cornell Road, including their rehabilitation center for injured birds.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a Fit Healthy Lifestyle Consultant with MirrorAthlete Corp., and former Tigard City Councilor. A strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2019 copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete and free monthly newsletter, visit: www.mirrorathlete.com.





Boot Up Properly To Walk Anywhere

19 04 2018

Marc Woodard, April 2018

I’m often ask why I ‘Boot Up’ to walk Tigard’s easily accessible sidewalks, parkway and greenway paved trail systems. That is, I typically wear boots and protective clothing with backpack. My reasoning is basically 5-fold.

1) I often walk through narrow dirt trail systems in publically owned wooded areas with overgrown brush and weeds within City boundaries. You can find these remote trails within and around Dirksen Nature Park, Bull Mountain Park, and Cook, Cache and Sunrise Parks and sections of Genesis loop. Also Fields and Brown property behind the Tigard Library running parallel with the train tracks. To include other unimproved land areas not well known to the general public.

2) If you love trail walking or work within rural and forested environments, or like to hike, camp, hunt over the weekends – protective all-weather clothing, backpack and supportive footwear in my opinion is the best attire to wear during daily walking exercise to keep the feet and body conditioned to participate in any of those activities year around.

3) Boots are more resistive to walk in than tennis shoes and require daily use to keep feet conditioned to wear them comfortably for any occasion. They also provide a superior level of protection from puncture, abrasions or blunt force that may occur on uneven and unstable outback surface conditions.

4) Regardless of foot wear choice and activity, an improperly fitted boot like any shoe can cause hotspots and blisters; to include lift toenails ever so slightly which allows fungus to enter under them. Toenail fungus is the cause of yellowish, thickened and cracked nail and painful conditions. To learn more about proper fitting foot ware, foot care and toenail fungus connection and treatment – Read: “Clear up Yellowed, Thickened and Cracked Toenails….” Visit: MirrorAthlete article – Click on short link: https://wp.me/p8mORL-uu

5) If you have ankle supination problems [where the foot strikes the outer back edge of heal first with unstable force], a properly fitted boot with 6”ankle height support will likely keep the foot from buckling inward – and may prevent strain or sprain of the outer ankle joint.

Loaded Back Pack – 25lbs of apples

My go-to walking gear consists of ankle high tactical boots with insole inserts for additional padding and arch support. I also wear lightweight protective long-sleeved and tactical flex-pant clothing, hat and often Don a backpack with 3 liters [~6.6lbs] of water. Additional gear consists of a flashlight, jerky or power bar, rain proof wind breaker, extra pair of socks, water purifier drinking straw, first aid kit and a pair of well-worn boots – should the primary boot compromise a foot during a long walk.

 If boot change out or foot treatment does not occur prior to ‘hotspot-limping’… This can result in a painful domino effect in any combination(s) of weight bearing joints, i.e., knee, hip, back and neck. In general and in many cases – weight bearing joint pain begins at the feet first and works its way up the body as exercise activity continues without foot ware adjustment. If foot discomfort is not addressed timely and pain persists daily this doesn’t motivate people to walk more.

My recommendation for anyone looking to condition the feet and body for long walks; traverse up and down hills as much as you walk the flatlands. It is hilly slops where boot ware can be tested for excessive slippage, uncomfortable pressure points and hotspots caused by improperly fitted footwear. This is the time to make adjustments, not while on a long or remote hike in the mountains. I can’t begin to tell you how many types of insoles, socks, moleskin [protective adhesive hotspot Band-Aid-like patches] and boots I’ve gone through to find the right combinations that allows me to walk on average 8-10 miles per day comfortably anywhere without pain.

Before beginning long distance walking… It is helpful to first plan to condition the feet in footwear of choice over a 4 week period and make adjustments accordingly. I recommend walking daily at a pace and distance you’re comfortable – then increase duration gradually. There is a secondary benefit to hauling up-to10-12lbs of essentials on daily walks most don’t consider. The additional weight takes extra cardio and muscular endurance effort while burning more fat calories.

No matter the adventure… foot maintenance should be the priority.

Once feet are conditioned, try donning a lightweight back pack and add weight gradually on a daily basis if you want the increased fitness benefits, or planning to condition the body for a remote hiking expedition.

To learn more about Tigard City trail locations to plan daily walk loops, or want to know more about the Cities trail master plans visit: http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/Parks/docs/trail_system_master_plan.pdf

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete Fit Healthy Lifestyle, City Recreation and free monthly newsletter, visit: http://www.mirrorathlete.com”