In this week’s Santa Clarita Outdoor Report, Wendy Langhans tells us more on the extirpation or local extinction of Gray Wolves in California, and the possible comeback with a “Day Tripper Wolf” known as OR7.
Last week, we spoke about the “extirpation” (local extinction) of Gray Wolves in California. We have anecdotal evidence that they once lived here in Southern California. From a report published in 2011 by the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Pedro Fages, a Spanish soldier traveling between San Diego and San Francisco in 1769, “made several references to wolves, coyotes, and foxes in his descriptions of wildlife found along his route (including several descriptions of all three in a particular region, such as the area between modern Irvine and Ventura…)”. And the “last confirmed wolf in California was here in 1924”, according to the CDFW website.
On December 28, 2011, that was no longer true. On that day, a young male Gray Wolf, known as OR7, began making periodic visits from southern Oregon into northern California. We know this, because OR7 was fitted with a radio collar in February, 2011 and his movements have been tracked ever since. Click here to see photos of OR7 and here to see the map of his travels.
OR7’s story begins with his wolf pack, known as the “Imnaha” wolf pack. Originally from Idaho, this pack migrated to the Imnaha River valley of northeastern Oregon. Click here and here to see videos. “The Imnaha pack was first documented in 2009” and OR7 was born in northeastern Oregon in the spring 2009”. According to his CDFW biography, “OR7 dispersed from the Imnaha pack in September 2011” and crossed the boarder into California on December 28, 2011. Click here to see a map of his movements within Oregon.
It is not unusual for young male wolves to disperse from (leave) the pack as they get older. “Dispersing wolves generally attempt to join other packs, carve out new territories within occupied habitat, or form their own pack in unoccupied habitat.” The CDFW has been tracking OR7’s movements in northwestern California, as he has traveled through the Klamath, Shasta Trinity, Lassen and Plumas National Forests. Click here to see the map, which shows his movements from 12/28/11 through 4/23/13, when OR7 returned to Oregon. His back and forth movements reminds me of the lyrics from an old Beatles song, “Got a good reason, for taking the easy way out”.
Since then, OR7 has remained something of a “Day Tripper”, briefly visiting California in December of last year and January and February of this year. You can click here to see the latest updates.
Will OR7 eventually settle down in California? That’s hard to say, but most wildlife biologists think it’s only a matter of time until some wolf does move in. According to the CDFW, “wildlife managers anticipated that wolves would eventually enter California, and have been preparing for it”. I don’t think it will take “so long to find out”.
Here’s an update on the Mourning Doves nesting on our front porch:
This year my Easter basket contained more than marshmallow Peeps – the two eggs have hatched!
Free Birding App. For those of you who are looking for a good birding app for your Apple cellphone or iPad, the Cornell Lab of Ornitholgy is offering a free app. Click here for more information.
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
Sunday, April 27, 2 pm. Community Nature Series presents “Butterflies of Placerita Canyon”. Butterflies are all around us! They have been called “flying jewels” or “flying flowers”. Dr. Paul Levine will review the life cycle of butterflies and share photos of the many common butterflies found in our Santa Clarita valley. Click here for more information.
Saturday, May 17th, 8 – 10 am. Migration Mysteries. Springtime is here and so are many birds who visit TowsleyCanyon. From songbirds to raptors, discover what bird species migrate through our region, how, and why. Beginning birders are welcome. Binoculars optional. Meet at TowsleyCanyon’s front parking lot. Click here for map and directions.
Trail Maintenance Schedule. Come join our volunteers as they help maintain our trails. Contact Steve at email@example.com for time and place.
Wednesday mornings, May 7, 4, 21 & 28.
Saturday mornings, May 17.
New trail maps available. If you’d like to explore a bit on your own, the City of Santa Clarita has a website with trail maps of our local open spaces.
There’s also a new website for bicycle riders.
Ask Dr. Norm: Do you have questions about the flora, fauna, animals, rocks, etc. in our Santa Clarita Valley? Here’s a place for you to ask your questions. Dr. Norman Herr, Ph.D., is a professor of science and computer education at CaliforniaStateUniversity, Northridge.
Tell Us About Your Hike: Here’s a new website where you can post pictures, provide feedback and make suggestions about the City of Santa Clarita’s trails and open spaces.
You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on “The SCV Outdoor Report”, brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
Or check out our Facebook page – L.A. Mountains
Source: Santa Clarita News