Oh noes! UBC researcher worries global warming may harm predator and prey connections

From the UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA OKANAGAN CAMPUS and the department of “Owls always take the air temperature before they hunt” comes this inanity. They really do stay awake at night worrying about global warming.

UBC researcher worries global warming may harm predator and prey connections

A UBC study highlights the potential harm that climate change may have on a number of predator and prey relationships.

Rebecca Tyson, an associate professor of mathematics at UBC’s Okanagan campus, recently published a study on predator and prey relationships, how they change seasonally, and how climate change may lead to the extinction of some species.

With mathematical modelling, Tyson uses quantitative tools and computational models based on key features of real ecosystems and landscapes. These models can then be used to inform environmental management and conservation strategies.

“Researchers watch the population of a species over time, and they’re looking for specifics. Does the population persist, does it oscillate, is it stable?” says Tyson, explaining there can be a fine balance between the populations.

Tyson’s models suggest that as summers become longer due to global warming, as forecasted, the relationships between predators and their prey will change.

There are two types of predators, she explains. A generalist will eat berries, a small variety of prey animals and pretty much anything to survive. And a specialist lives on one food-type alone. Some predators, however, can switch from being a specialist in one season to being a generalist in another.

It’s these switching specialists she’s worried about. The great horned owl requires a steady diet of snowshoe hares for survival during the winter, but can survive on a wide variety of prey in the summer. During an extended summer, great horned owls may run hares to near extinction. This in turn puts other northern animals in danger such as lynx which survive on snowshoe hares, as they now do not have a steady supply of their food source.

“At the moment we have stable cyclical relationships between prey and predator,” Tyson says. “But we have found some new behaviour which leads us to ask whether longer summers make existing predator/prey relationships sustainable.”

Tyson says she hopes her findings, which she did not expect to find, lead to more field studies and research on seasonal animal relationships and climate change.

“This is a perfect example of a situation where we found something unexpected,” she says. “These predator/prey relationships are balanced, but when changes such as an overall warming of one or two degrees occur, we can get close to point where these relationships become fragile and we risk losing species.

“When you lose a species, like the hare or lynx, you lose it forever.”

Tyson’s study was recently published in the journal The American Naturalist.


I had to laugh at this:

“This is a perfect example of a situation where we found something unexpected,” she says

Modeling is not data, it’s not a finding, it’s not an observation of the real world, it’s a forecast based on the input parameters and mathematics assigned by the researchers and the programmers. It’s only as good as their assumptions and processes.

If they were real scientists, they’d also have run the model to see what happens when changes such as an overall cooling of one or two degrees occur. Instead, they are only testing against their warming beliefs, and confirmation bias kicks in.

And then there’s this. The range of the Great Horned Owl, spans from the frozen North of Alaska and Canada, to the hot jungles and plains of South America.

Global range of B. virginianus
Global range of B. virginianus

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_horned_owl#Distribution_and_habitat

If they were so sensitive to 1 or 2 degrees of temperature, you’d likely find them in only one place where the temperature hardly varies at all. Instead, they are successful over a broad range of climate and climate extremes.

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October 25, 2016 9:34 am

As summers get longer… 1°C makes the summer what, 2 days longer. This mathematician is just trying to get on the CAGW gravy train. And who can blame her. Everyone else in academia is.

Bryan A
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
October 25, 2016 12:25 pm

Perhaps TPTB should consider starting a DNA ARC similar to the Svallbard Seed Arc and place frozen DNA of every current species down at Scott Base Antarctica. Then, when their worst fears are realized (NOT) they will have a vast pool of DNA to replinish species all over the world.

Reply to  Bryan A
October 26, 2016 1:36 am

Well, perhaps we should do that anyway, whatever the climate…?
There are many reasons a species might go extinct over time…

george e. smith
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
October 25, 2016 12:36 pm

Well I can understand the effect. I don’t go out to MacDonald’s for breakfast if the Temperature outside is below 14 deg. F.
So I can see why a GHO would pass up a snowshoe hare when the snow is too cold.

Carbon BIgfoot
Reply to  george e. smith
October 25, 2016 7:17 pm

Too much of that “Strange Brew” my a HOSER.

george e. smith
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
October 25, 2016 1:03 pm

Well she’s a mathematician; not a Great Horned Owlist, so you might expect her to miss some things.
I didn’t see anything in her account to take account of the snow hardness, which can have a considerable effect on the number of lateral Gees that a snow shoe hare can pull, which greatly affects their minimum turning radius. That can also affect the Lynx Lateral Gee Limit also which would affect the percentage of SHHs taken by GHOs and Lxs.
She sounds like someone who is gravitating towards becoming a full time Numerical Origaminist, instead of a mathematician.
The trouble with most of mathematics, is that it tends to lead to a definitive solution rather quickly, and then you have to go and find another problem.
With Origaminism , you often end up with just crumpled paper all over the floor, and if you blend that with the long term weather, then you can see how to extend it to a whole retirement terminated career; and on a gravy train too.

chris moffatt
Reply to  george e. smith
October 26, 2016 5:34 am

Snowshoe hares are actually able to pivot in midstride and come down going in a different direction. Turning radius – very small. They can sometimes outrun a lynx. Did this professor of Math discuss any of this with a professor of wildlife biology who actually knows about GHO-lynxes-snowshoe hares, especially the hare population dynamics which lead to periodic crashes in the hare populations in an area, not due to predation?
And where I wonder are the snowshoe hares in S. America?

October 25, 2016 9:43 am


Reply to  Sunsettommy
October 25, 2016 2:34 pm

Oh no, we are going to run out of rabbits and other rodents! They will vanish!!! And what about the wharf rats in NYC? Will they run out of pizzas?

Mickey Reno
Reply to  emsnews
October 26, 2016 6:43 am

Let them eat rats.

Ian L. McQueen
October 25, 2016 9:45 am

“When you lose a species, like the hare or lynx, you lose it forever.”
Wasn’t it our friend Tim Ball who showed that lynx and hare populations continually went up and down?
Ian M

Reply to  Ian L. McQueen
October 25, 2016 9:53 am

Yes, but then there was the problem of the missing lynx. Quite a harey one that.
It’s wurst than we thought. How did these animals and birds ever survive the Medieval Warming Period??

Tom Halla
Reply to  ShrNfr
October 25, 2016 10:25 am

Heretic! Saint Michael Mann did away with the myth of the Medieval Warm and the Little Ice Age, so trying to account for their effects will have the true believers collecting firewood./sarc

george e. smith
Reply to  ShrNfr
October 25, 2016 1:04 pm

They all got out of Europe before the Plague arrived.

Reply to  Ian L. McQueen
October 25, 2016 9:57 am

And come to think, last I checked there are still plenty of hares and lynx roaming God’s Grey Earth. Hmmm …

george e. smith
Reply to  Ian L. McQueen
October 25, 2016 12:38 pm

I lost a species once. My scrawny cat ate it. But my cat didn’t go extinct until much later.

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
October 25, 2016 12:39 pm

PS How do I extincticate what claims to be a LinkedIn network in my name. I don’t belong to any networks that would have me as a member.

Reply to  Ian L. McQueen
October 25, 2016 7:42 pm

It is *normal* for predator-prey populations to oscillate, not just lynxes and hares.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotka%E2%80%93Volterra_equations
“in this simple model.. The populations of prey and predator can get infinitesimally close to zero and still recover.”
See also http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Predator-prey_model which
explains the link between predator-prey models and chaos.
(Mathematical) ecological modelling has been around for a while now and can provide insights and ideas for verification. Like all modelling, it starts by abstracting away from the real world, which is *necessary* if we want to get something we can understand, but there is always the risk that we’ve abstracted too much, or that we’ve modelled things the wrong way. The ultimate test is observed reality.
In this case, the distribution map suggests that there is a problem. Amongst other things, I’d like to know how far these owls *move* from the territory where they hatch to establish their own adult territory. Search search: apparently not that far, but http://www.birds.cornell.edu/page.aspx?pid=2710 says “Irruptions from Saskatchewan and Alberta are documented, showing striking southeasterly movements, but this is not really a true migration. These irruptions happen chiefly when there are population crashes of the snowshoe hare occurring in boreal forests and aspen parklands. Such individuals, including many adults, travel to Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa—often part of the periodic invasion of Minnesota and Wisconsin by this species and the Northern Goshawk at roughly 10-year intervals. The longest known distance travelled by a Great Horned Owl is 1,279 miles (2,058 kilometres) from Alberta to western Illinois.” If I had the model to examine, I’d certainly be looking for any mention of that. (Lynxes are also widely distributed and mobile when they need to be.)

Reply to  Richard A. O'Keefe
October 25, 2016 11:02 pm

“Normal predator prey populations oscillate. . .”
Absolutely! I recently saw a pack Canadian gray’s eating the next to last elk in Yellowstone National Park–the moose and most other big game in the West having been consumed on the downside of this particular predator-prey oscillation. Did I mention the Western states’ big game herds and billion dollar a year hunting industry are virtually gone too? This courtesy of America’s Bruce Babbl. . sorry, Babbitt . . . who, as Secretary of the Interior, had his USFWS capture and set loose 31 Canadian arctic gray wolves into Yellowstone and 35 more into Idaho in 1995-1996. Released as an “experimental wolf population” with an “endangered” free pass from the DOI and EPA for unlimited predation, they now number in the hundreds and possibly, thousands.
These Canadian wolves, whose weights range 100-135 pounds—the heaviest ever recorded, killed on 70 Mile River in east-central Alaska on July 12, 1939, weighed 79.4 kilograms (175 pounds)—have no predators and were never endangered because there are thousands of them in Canada and the far Northwest.
Dumped in the middle of America’s world class wildlife herds, they reproduced rapidly, killed off the native wolves, expanded their territories, decimated Yellowstone’s and the surrounding area’s big game herds, helped themselves to ranchers’ livestock, and devalued any private property in “their territories”; all part of the “Cleansing of the West Plan”. For animals. Yellowstone’s traditional moose herd of 1,000 is gone and its elk herd that historically averaged 19,000 was at 3,000 (+) and nose-diving in 2012, as were mule deer, mountain sheep, and mountain goats.
Great horned owls. Brother and I caught two as young chicks we found wandering down a dirt road on a ranch in far West Texas. Took them back to the ranch house, built them a pen with a roost and wire door, shot jack rabbits (which are impossible to oscillate because they breed too fast) in the evenings, striped the meat, and fed (we quickly donned a pair of old welder’s gloves for this task) both owls until they were grown and could oscillate on their own.
Takeaway of predator-prey oscillation: Never venture into Canadian grey territories alone and unarmed (you’re a lot easier to catch than moose elk, or deer), and never try to feed a great horned owl barehanded.

Ed bray @ Langley bc
October 25, 2016 9:51 am

This ubc rubbish is just to assure the american people that they do not have all the dum people of the world in Canada we have more than share

chris moffatt
Reply to  Ed bray @ Langley bc
October 26, 2016 5:43 am

The great charlatan David Suzuki (he who explained that the carbon in the glass is the reason your car gets hot inside on sunny summer days – nothing to do with closed windows or anything) counterbalances a lot of PennState climatology ‘professors’.

October 25, 2016 9:54 am

You know, it just hit me. “Climate Science” [sic] has settled at its natural level in the academic pecking order alongside “Women’s Studies”, “Gender Studies”, and “Black Studies”. Time to rename it “Climate Studies” so there can be no confusion about its academic significance or its political underpinnings.

Ross King
Reply to  brians356
October 25, 2016 10:12 am

Good post!
However, for more laughs, let’s flip that thought: How about up-grading ““Women’s Studies”, “Gender Studies”, and “Black Studies”” to “Women’s Science? “Gender Science? “Black Science”, and fund massive programs — complete with super-computer-modelling, and staffed with gravy-trainers like this one. (I’m sure the results will be equally expensive and equally meaningless.)
BTW, I’m sure there’s funding-potential for studying the Impact of Climate change on Women’s Issues, Gender Issues, etc. …
This ‘upgrade’ ought to become a Political Correctness campaign-issue for moronic, self-obsessed students on campus.
‘Nuff levity ….

Gerry, England
Reply to  Ross King
October 25, 2016 1:01 pm

Haven’t they already done those studies? Unlike the warmist gravy train to miss a trick.

george e. smith
Reply to  brians356
October 25, 2016 12:45 pm

It’s “Ethnic Studies, not “Black Studies.”
SF State University has a whole school of Racism. it’s apparently quite famous.
I maybe would take a course in gender studies, but they seem to be discriminatory, and for some reason they don’t include hermaphrodites in their list of classes.

October 25, 2016 10:04 am

Time was, science was conducted by scientists. The rigors of science, combined with “social’ passes in schools have resulted in sociology/poli-sci rent-seekers getting funding for this pseudo-science. I sincerely hope that Engineering and other “real” professionals can continue to work in the empirical world.

george e. smith
Reply to  mrmethane
October 25, 2016 12:48 pm

Well don’t count on it. Analog design seems to have disappeared from electronic engineering since Bob Widlar invented the 702 Op Amp. EEs can’t design amplifiers any more, they use op amps for everything, and those things can’t do everything.

Gerry, England
Reply to  mrmethane
October 25, 2016 1:04 pm

Electronic types apart, I think you are going to notice if engineers get things wrong. We do use models but they are based on empirical data to prove that they work.

george e. smith
Reply to  Gerry, England
October 25, 2016 1:07 pm

Well they build turbo wind mills to show people what happens when you get it wrong.

Old England
October 25, 2016 10:14 am

The Snowshoe Hare has up to 4 litters a year ….. and goes through a cycle of 8 – 11 years from high density to low density.
Apparently poulation levels begin to decline when the plants which support it become overgrazed – the population declines rapidly and then recovers as the plants recover. (http://www.enr.gov.nt.ca/node/3052)
Lynx populations rise and fall as a result of that.
I wonder, if weather conditions were say a half a degree warmer and spring a little earlier and autumn a little later, would they have 5 litters ? Has this ever been studied ?
I wonder if this study factored in that higher CO2 levels mean greater abundance of food with the significantly increased vegetative growth that a slightly higher CO2 level brings. Slightly warmer conditions would produce a slightly extended plant growing season, adding to the amount of plant growth. (Perhaps it included it in the ‘Model’ and perhaps it didn’t.)
A simplistic view of that would be that with increased food available for the hares then higher populations of both hare and lynx could be supported.
Perhaps if I created some obscure mathematical modelling system with various fudge factors it would show me that the extra food would lead to overweight and obese hares which are much slower and easier for the Lynx to kill.
I sometimes think that the only real qualifications required for climate-related science are a good imagination, an ability not to let facts distract you and a belief in post modern science.

Reply to  Old England
October 25, 2016 11:02 am

Indeed, the hare/lynx dynamic is first year ecology textbook stuff. I would add to your explanation that it is not just plants, but also increasing lynx numbers pressures hare numbers down, which then results in fewer lynx as their food source disappears, allowing hares to recover, and so on.
As others have noted in comments, year to year variation in summer length greatly exceeds the forecast warming signal. Case in point, if you count summer as the number of frost free days (# before and after August 1st), annual variation in length can be a factor of 10 or more as you move northward.

Reply to  MJB
October 25, 2016 11:58 am

Yup. I studied it also in ecological math modeling. Then for the required term paper recast the equations as Markov chains to show probabalistically the same oscillating result using completely different mathematics. And that the probability of extirpation using ‘real’ data was effectively zero. Served double duty as the term paper for the graduate level discrete probability course taken the same semester.

Reply to  MJB
October 25, 2016 12:49 pm

First year? We did that in grade school (grade 8)

george e. smith
Reply to  Old England
October 25, 2016 1:09 pm

What distinguishes a dense SSH from a low density SSH ??
Would the dense ones lose out to the GHOs faster than the smart ones ??

Reply to  Old England
October 25, 2016 2:37 pm

But what if the lynxes become too fat and can’t catch the rabbits!

Tom O
October 25, 2016 10:14 am

The real idiocy of this “modeling” is the simple fact that ‘sorry, all summers do not begin on the same day and end on the same day each year.” There are many years when we have a shorter than normal cooler season and longer warmer season, as well as the opposite. How far up their backsides do they actually keep their heads when they can’t even see that over a 3 decade span, comparatively speaking, the animals will have already experienced what their models say will force them to die out? Yes, I realize she is saying these changes will be year after year, but isn’t it reasonable to assume that they actually do acclimate over time, since they have in the past?

The Old Man
October 25, 2016 10:20 am

I’d say that the study should statistically reflect the relative offset from the actual owl based windmill-whack-a-raptor deaths compared to whatever they have in the “model” for climate change concerns.

Old England
October 25, 2016 10:22 am

“Tyson says she hopes her findings, which she did not expect to find, lead to more field studies and research on seasonal animal relationships and climate change.”
= “Can I have another big research grant please.”

Reply to  Old England
October 25, 2016 10:41 am

Also free wine from her like thinking buddies.

Reply to  nc
October 25, 2016 12:51 pm

‘findings’… Model outputs are not ‘findings’. They are computer generated guesses.

Reply to  Old England
October 25, 2016 1:49 pm

Tyson “didn’t expect to find such results”. Well, using quantitative tools (as she did) on such problems you can expect to get surprises. Fiddling with numbers in different ways will yield surprising results depending on the garbage you put into your computer. I suggest she use qualitative tools next time.

October 25, 2016 10:23 am

If a species is that sensitive to temperatures, then they will travel to latitudes where the temps are to their liking. Duh!!!! I don’t see owls congregating at given latitudes. Do you?

October 25, 2016 10:26 am

We wouldn’t want implicate clear cutting now would we. Go for the safe targets for tenure and promotion while the getting is good.

October 25, 2016 10:28 am

Why are these people allowed crayons, far less access to a computer?

October 25, 2016 10:29 am

We’ve got great horned owls in our 5 acre Puget Sound yard, and lots and lots of rabbits… More now than ever… It seems warm & wet NW weather creates more food for longer periods for rabbits… Hence there’s more and more rabbits — same with deer… Along with warm wet weather also comes plenty of bushes for rabbits to hide in from owls, coyotes, bobcats and other predators… Other folks I’ve talked to in our area have observed the same thing…
Seems likely the real difference is the researchers are spending too much time in big city universities tinkering with computer models while living off of grant money trying to prove what the grant money was provided for so they can get more grant money in the future, and not so much time actually living in areas where rabbits and owls and other critters actually hang out…

george e. smith
Reply to  Seipherd
October 26, 2016 11:04 am

Have a couple of GHOs that haunt my back yard too. They get up in one of my overly large pine trees and hoot to each other. It’s good for the ground squirrels to have GHOs.
What a magnificent creature is the GHO.

October 25, 2016 10:31 am

And then there is always that one stubborn problem with all these “climate change” studies: There is no evidence that human activity is changing the way the climate behaves. These studies are pure speculation.

Bruce Cobb
October 25, 2016 10:33 am

Researcher worries that adaptation, which has been going on since the first amoeba crawled out of the sand (or wherever) will suddenly decide to stop. And the sky will begin to fall. Because models say so.

Terry Warner
October 25, 2016 10:38 am

The underlying proposition that climate and the mix of living beings – animal and vegetable – are somehow at some sort of optimal level which should be maintained in perpetuity is frankly daft.
Populations over time will vary, some adapt, others don’t and may die out. Thus it has always been and will continue to be so. The only material change in circumstances over the last 200 years is the massive increase in human population and their impact on the environment, of which CO2 emissions is but a minor feature of their impact on the planet.

October 25, 2016 10:43 am

out of control education-industrial complex.

Ann S
October 25, 2016 10:44 am

Just an observation,but here in the land of almost always hot,animals such as feral cats, dogs, bobcats, rabbits, have more litters. Seems same for lizards and birds too, but that may be a sunlight thing. More warmth,more food.

October 25, 2016 10:53 am

The problem here is a PR flack who can’t understand simple logic.

It’s these switching specialists she’s worried about. The great horned owl requires a steady diet of snowshoe hares for survival during the winter, but can survive on a wide variety of prey in the summer. During an extended summer, great horned owls may run hares to near extinction. This in turn puts other northern animals in danger such as lynx which survive on snowshoe hares, as they now do not have a steady supply of their food source.

The extended summer should be good for the lynx. Why? The owls can eat other things than hares during the summer. Therefore, an extended summer should mean that fewer hares are killed by owls. This means more food for the lynx. Global warming is good for lynx.
The scientists may, or may not, be bad but the folks who write the press releases can make them look grindingly stupid.

October 25, 2016 11:00 am

How did these people ever get a degree ? It’s really sad what passes for science. I am definitely going to change my career to astrologer. We are entering a belief centered time period. The results of predictions and the actual don’t have to come close. In fact it may be just the opposite. If you cure somebody using medicine, you are a witch ! It’s magic !

Reply to  rishrac
October 25, 2016 1:34 pm

I think brians356 nailed it…
” brians356
October 25, 2016 at 9:54 am
You know, it just hit me. “Climate Science” [sic] has settled at its natural level in the academic pecking order alongside “Women’s Studies”, “Gender Studies”, and “Black Studies”. Time to rename it “Climate Studies” so there can be no confusion about its academic significance or its political underpinnings.”
Not dissimilar from the college football player ESPN was interviewing, whose major was “Consumer Studies”.

Reply to  BobM
October 26, 2016 5:06 am

I was watching a Korean historical drama about Queen Seandok. One of the issues was about a conquered tribe. After nearly a hundred years their were still problems. Both sides kept books on who was who. Her position was that she was the ruler of all of them. She burnt both books. With the current laws, the US will eventually descend into a low level of constant warfare. Different groups will swear loyalty, but not mean it. It’s already started, I’ll take a knee, but for a different or any reason.

October 25, 2016 11:01 am

Doesn’t look like it occurred to her that there northern limit….where they are dependent on only one food source in the winter….is called their range limit for a reason
…and will always be fragile….just like it is right now

Reply to  Latitude
October 25, 2016 11:05 am

…she should be more concerned about West Nile

Reply to  Latitude
October 25, 2016 11:05 am


October 25, 2016 11:07 am

I suspect confusion between Snowey Owls and Great Horned Owls. Snowey Owls and Snowshoe Hares are both creatures of the north. As pointed out, Great Horned Owls are everywhere.

Mike Rossander
October 25, 2016 11:16 am

In fairness, their argument is really about the snowshoe hare whose range can be seen at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lepus_americanus_map.svg. Still a pretty wide range but not nearly as wide as the Great Horned Owl.

October 25, 2016 11:27 am

Seriously messed up biology. Just looked up thenfacts. It is true that the main prey for the Canadian lynx is the showshoe hare ~75%. Rest is mostly rabbits. That is most definitely not true for great horned owls. They will eat pretty much anything that moves that they can kill in the evening from dusk on or in the early morning until just after dawn (large females weigh ~4 #), which is why they have such a large range. In British Columbia the diet includes rats, field mice, voles, chipmunks, squirrels, ruffed and spruce grouse, and chukars as well as snowshoe hares and rabbits. Diet is mainly rodents 2/3 and birds 1/3 for all the northern subspecies across the continent.
This professor of mathematics should have learned more ecology before doing her predator/prey equations. And her ‘Global warming endangers the Canadian Lynx’ is an old warmunist trope, covered along with other false alarms like pikas and penguins in essay No Bodies in ebook Blowing Smoke.

Reply to  ristvan
October 25, 2016 11:38 am

Should have added BC winter prey includes…

Reply to  ristvan
October 27, 2016 11:08 pm

They eat snakes, too.

October 25, 2016 11:35 am

I was out checking the telescope out a couple weeks back about at about 1:30 am, and as I was standing there, I heard something big fly out of one of the near by trees, sound from the wings sounded like something the size of a turkey lol

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  micro6500
October 25, 2016 11:46 am

Owl Gore?

The Old Man
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 25, 2016 9:12 pm

Bruce Cobb==> I must keep an eye out for your posts. Too good.

Reply to  micro6500
October 25, 2016 11:47 am

Then it definitely wasn’t a Great Horned Owl. Like all owls they make virtually no noise when flying. It is almost spooky when one of those quite large birds fly quite close and you hear absolutely nothing.

Reply to  tty
October 25, 2016 11:51 am

Then it definitely wasn’t a Great Horned Owl.

We have heard an owl at night, but what I heard was it taking flight out of a tree, and it flapping it’s wings to lift off. After that I heard nothing.

Reply to  tty
October 25, 2016 11:54 am

It is almost spooky

I was kind of spooked, even though I (pretty much) knew what it was, but kept think about the movie Pitch Black lol

Reply to  tty
October 25, 2016 2:37 pm

You hear nothing only when they coast. I have observed and heard the wing beats (swishes actually) of several large Horned Owls while out walking ridge lines above the forest floor. Interestingly, very quiet in dry air but very audible in damp air.

Peter Fournier
Reply to  micro6500
October 26, 2016 6:46 pm

Likely not a GHO. I’ve had one fly by at night close enough to brush my cheek with it’s primary feather. Barely heard anything … perhaps a low Hz whispered shhh. They are very quiet. Have to be really in order to surprise and catch all those big eared rabbits and woodland jumping mice.

Peter Fournier
Reply to  Peter Fournier
October 26, 2016 6:47 pm

As mentioned above, you can hear them when taking off.

October 25, 2016 11:43 am

This is beyond silly. The Great Horned Owl is one of the most versatile and opportunistic predators known. It will catch and eat anything in the right (very wide) size range. From mice to ospreys to insects.
It avoids treeless tundra and closed-canopy rainforest but does very well in everything inbetween (it is replaced by its close relative the Snowy Owl on the tundra and its even closer relative Magellanic Horned Owl in Southern South America, otherwise it would probably live there too).
And it has a fossil history going back at least to the Blancan, so it has survived dozens of ice-ages and interglacials.

Reply to  tty
October 25, 2016 12:10 pm

tty, she thinks the Canadian lynx is endangered by the great horned owl, not the other way around. The global warming endangers Canadian Lynx is a warmunist meme that has been around for years. Same illogic as the global warming endangered American pika. Neither are in the least endangered, but you would never know that from WWF propaganda and funding appeals.

Reply to  ristvan
October 25, 2016 1:59 pm

I would expect lynxes to shift to hunting deer and birds if there is a shortage of snowshoe hares. They do in Eurasia, and the Northern Lynx is the same species all over. In northern Europe they don’t seem to be very dependent on hares at all.

October 25, 2016 11:55 am

I am glad (hope) that our friends from the North are paying for this NONSENSE. The US is spending too much $$$ on this type indoctrination. We need students in college that are studying courses that contribute to the GDP and the welfare of society, not training activists that detract from the development and improvement of mankind. Too many environmental graduates are being produced. Somehow we did quite well in the past without all the special climate and environmental studies currently being produced by advanced education. The emphasis in advanced education should focus on fundamental principals of science and engineering not activist training, lacking common sense. People well trained in the basics can do almost anything if motivated.

Mark from the Midwest
October 25, 2016 12:17 pm

We have an open meadow that we can see from the house. We also have bald eagles, red hawks, and harriers nesting in the area. I’ve seen them snag prey from that meadow when it’s 85F and when it’s in the single digits. So 1.5 degrees will make a difference to birds that operate in an 80 degree plus range, makes perfect sense to me.

October 25, 2016 12:19 pm

“With mathematical modelling, Tyson uses quantitative tools and computational models based on key features of real ecosystems and landscapes. These models can then be used to inform environmental management and conservation strategies.”
The BIG mistake here is that the fool assumes that we are warming, which we are not. And, as the predator-prey relationship has survived for millions of years through multiple glacial/interglacial cycles, it is a joke that he thinks what is happening now, i.e., nothing, is a threat to these species.
Just seeking more funding, that’s all he is doing.

October 25, 2016 12:24 pm

The “biology/ecology” studies of climate change computer modelling are the weakest of all outputs. Whenever a paper says they were surprised by the results, it inevitably signals a lack of knowledge of the research that has been done on both the biological and ecological aspects of the species involved. This press release suggests a total lack of understanding of basic principles. Owls, lynx, hares and predation have been studied to death. To assume that a minor temperature change will be the driving force in the future is ridiculous. Another graduate of PacMann University.

Reply to  R2Dtoo
October 25, 2016 3:22 pm


October 25, 2016 1:06 pm

I bought a really great mattress 10 years ago. It’s not as great now. Global warming ruins everything.

Nigel S
Reply to  BallBounces
October 25, 2016 1:36 pm

Brexit destroys anything that survives GW (at least according to BBC).

October 25, 2016 1:17 pm

global warming may harm predator and prey connections
Do you mean, between the democrat party and the people ?

October 25, 2016 1:17 pm

This ‘research’ has just generated more rank speculation. And, I’m guessing her research grant application used the phrase “global warming” more than once.
WUWT recently posted a review by Andy May of ecologist, Daniel B. Botkin’s new book “25 Myths That Are Destroying The Environment”. It would appear that Rebecca Tyson subscribes to several of those myths. For example:
Myth 2 Life Is Fragile and Can’t Adjust Easily to Change
Myth 3 Extinction Is Unnatural and Bad, but Easy to Accomplish
Myth 13 Climate Change Will Lead to Huge Numbers of Extinctions
Myth 25 Compared to Climate Change, All Other Environmental Issues Are Minor
Tyson needs to read it.

David F
October 25, 2016 1:27 pm

I have a computer model which gives findings, which I didn’t expect to find, that had I been flying a P-51 in late 1944 I would have shot down half the Luftwaffe — before lunch!
I have another computer model which shows unequivocally that I am Supreme Lord Emperor of the planet Zorgon-X. Until sceptics can come up with a better model of Zorgon-X, mine must stand.
Now can I be a climate scientist?

Nigel S
Reply to  David F
October 25, 2016 1:38 pm

Apply tro CCC(E)P for a grant

October 25, 2016 1:52 pm

Has anybody tried hare stew? or casserole? I eat hare once a week, not the showshoe genus, though. I wonder why it is not popular in America, too many bones? Does not taste good? Is is too cute to eat? You do not how to cook it?

Reply to  urederra
October 25, 2016 3:24 pm

Old wilderness guy here. The military northern survival training teaches not to bother with snowshoe hares. Not enough nutrition. Snare Rabbits, not snowshoe hares.

Reply to  urederra
October 25, 2016 3:40 pm

Rabbit is good. Quite expensive in the frozen food section. Cheap as a kid. A bolt action 22 w/pocket of shorts and a club. Hunt at dusk.

Gunga Din
October 25, 2016 2:16 pm

I’m all for getting rid of Global Warming (the current political meme) so the predators will be less able to prey on us taxpayers.

October 25, 2016 2:30 pm

Not a problem. The massive number of wind turbines and solar panels will chop and fry all the raptors before any raise in temperature can cause problems.

Bill Murphy
October 25, 2016 2:34 pm

I’d like to hear what Dr. Jim Steele thinks about this “study.” But I doubt Dr. Tyson would.

Reply to  Bill Murphy
October 25, 2016 6:19 pm

Its worthless modeling bunk. Great horned owls have many prey item options including urban pigeons

October 25, 2016 3:11 pm

I’m embarrassed to say the UBC was my school. How things have degraded

Reply to  Colin
October 25, 2016 6:36 pm

As an Alumnus, I stopped donating due rob much of this coming out of UBC. But given the Laws in BC, completely understandable.

Kyle d
October 25, 2016 3:54 pm

Why has adaptation and evolution been forgotten?. It seems like the fear is the intelligent design of the world is being irrevocably ruined by man’s introduction of extra co2.

Mike Maguire
October 25, 2016 5:03 pm

“These predator/prey relationships are balanced, but when changes such as an overall warming of one or two degrees occur, we can get close to point where these relationships become fragile and we risk losing species.”
We are finding more and more, that life is being harmed by the greening up of the planet and warming it one or two degrees. Common sense tells us also, that global cooling of a degree or two and less plants(food) would be harmful.
This means that the climate must always stay exactly the same, like it has for the last 100,000 years (-:
Or, maybe its just this man made warming with toxic human emissions of CO2 that’s so bad for life. It’s true, just ask a computer model (-:
Natural warming and CO2, however is always healthy for life. It’s true, just ask life (-:

October 25, 2016 5:36 pm

“They really do stay awake at night worrying about global warming.”
I thought owls stayed awake at night in order to hunt mice.

October 25, 2016 7:42 pm

UBC ‘researcher’ imagines…
There, fixed it for you.

Johann Wundersamer
October 25, 2016 9:35 pm

Models have to be run. After all there’s computer capacity to engage.

John F. Hultquist
October 25, 2016 11:54 pm

I’ll have to go out and ask the owl what she has been eating.
Each year I see a rabbit, maybe 2, but in 25 years I have never seen a Hare here.
I’ll guess quail and mice.
Now, if she would take a break from the hooting, maybe I could get to sleep.

David Bennett Laing
November 5, 2016 11:00 am

Be afraid; be very afraid…

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