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Outdoor Briefs

VOLUNTEER EFFORTS

Overton wildlife area to get new blinds

Waterfowl hunters are seeing some design changes at the Overton Wildlife Management Area thanks to the volunteer efforts of a Nevada sportsman. The changes are in the form of two new hunting blinds designed and built by Brian Cimperman of Las Vegas.

After vandals damaged six of the existing blinds this spring, Cimperman gathered the raw materials and donated his time and energy to construct and redesign the vandalized blinds.

“Two of the six blinds were in place when goose season opened Saturday, Oct. 25. The remaining four will be in position for the 2009 season,” said Keith Brose, the Overton WMA supervisor.

Some of the newly constructed blinds will be assigned to new locations within the management area while others will replace the vandalized blinds at or near the Pintail and Wilson ponds. Anyone interested in volunteering for the restoration of blinds at the Overton WMA should contact Keith Brose at (702) 397-2142.

The Overton WMA is operated by the Nevada Department of Wildlife and provides Nevada hunters with a place to pursue migratory waterfowl and upland game birds. It’s also a good place for bird watching when hunting seasons are not under way. Reservations are required to hunt waterfowl at Overton WMA and must be made in person at the NDOW offices in Las Vegas or Henderson as well as the Overton WMA.

DATA COLLECTING

Studies watching burrowing owls

An affable symbol of the desert, the burrowing owl, is currently the subject of several biological studies being conducted in Southern Nevada. Nevada Department of Wildlife diversity biologist Christy Klinger includes burrowing owl data in her Nevada Bird Counts and Breeding Bird Surveys. Other agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey are also gathering data. The Red Rock Audubon Society and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have a monitoring project going on around Las Vegas where birds are being counted at different times of the year.

Burrowing owls in Southern Nevada are active all year, do not hibernate, and tend to be year-round residents as opposed to migratory. Their burrows provide all the protection they need from weather extremes.

These owls are not listed as threatened or endangered in Nevada, but biologists are starting to see a range-wide decline because of loss of habitat and collisions with vehicles

Burrowing owls are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and killing or possession of these birds, or destruction of their nests or eggs, is prohibited. Since these birds may be found in and adjacent to urban areas, including tracts of land slated for development, the concern for “take” of this species has led to the creation of an informational brochure for developers that offers tips for protecting burrowing owls and provides information on determining presence of nests or breeding activity.

According to Christiana Manville of the USFWS, the purpose of their joint project with Red Rock Audubon Society project is to survey, find and map burrows in the Las Vegas valley. Volunteers have found more than 300 this past year. Burrows can be found in areas where signs of the owls, such as pellets and whitewash, are found.

If anyone would like to help in this project, they can contact the Red Rock Audubon Society at (702) 390-9890. Volunteers are also recruited on an ongoing basis for a number of Nevada Department of Wildlife projects. Contact Chris Pietrafeso for more information (702) 486-5127, ext. 3850.

 

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