‘Barn Owls of Jamaica Bay’ – North Shore Audubon Society presentation

Don Riepe with Barn Owl nestling

North Shore Audubon Society’s next general meeting will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 30, starting 7 p.m., at the Manhasset Public Library, 30 Onderdonk Ave., Manhasset

. It will feature Don Riepe presenting “Barn Owls of Jamaica Bay”, describing his work with the owls – providing nest boxes and banding them.

Don Riepe says: “For its size, Jamaica Bay has the largest number of nesting barn owls in New York State. In the early 1980’s, as a park ranger, I helped build and put up the many owl boxes in remote areas of the Jamaica Bay Refuge. With help from American Littoral Society, volunteers, and raptor bander Chris Nadareski, we have placed about 20 of these boxes. Each year, we band roughly 18-30 owlets. Although rather odd in appearance, the owlets will grow up to be strikingly beautiful barn owls. A study of pellets undertaken by the National Park Service showed their major prey as Norway rats and meadow voles (Cook 1986). Since Jamaica Bay has ample shoreline, upland and three closed landfills, these mammals are abundant. Providing nesting habitat for the bay’s barn owls helps to assure their future as a top predator in New York City.”

Riepe retired in 2003 from the National Park Service where he worked as a naturalist ranger and manager of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in NYC.

Currently employed as Jamaica Bay Guardian and Director of the Northeast Chapter for the American Littoral Society, he has written many articles on natural history and his photographs have been published in journals including Scientific American, National Wildlife, Audubon, and The New York Times.

He has an M.S. in Natural Resources Management from the University of New Hampshire and has taught a course in Wildlife Management at St. John’s University. A long-time member of the Port Authority’s Bird Hazard Task Force, he also serves on the advisory board of NYC Audubon and is co-chair of the Brooklyn/Queens Jamaica Bay Task Force.


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