I am happy to introduce our first netted critter of the season: an eastern whip-poor-will, met Monday night.
This one hatched this spring, indicated by its set of juvenile flight feathers and wide buffy tinge to tail. I found it at the net array where the saw-whet owl audio lure is place – I wonder if the nightjar was attracted to the call as well, or just happened to amble along into the net by happenstance.
I must take a moment to profess my profuse adoration for nightjars, goatsuckers, frogmouths, nighthawks and the myriads of quirky common names.
Anyway, without further delay, I am also happy to introduce our first saw-whet owl, a girthy female (102 grams, an excellent weight) who also hatched this spring and is undertaking her first migration.
Alas, these are the only two captured avians to report as of late. I believe migration is delayed this season due to the balmy weather, but perhaps a few more owls and friends will trickle into the station before cold fronts come and migration can start in earnest.
Last fall, there was speculation that it was a poor reproductive year because of regional population crashes of the red vole, which is a major prey resource for small owls. However, last night I encountered a small good omen:
I hope to see a higher proportion of healthy young owls stream down through the Straits.
Until next time,