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The Spring 2016 owl banding season has officially come to an end.
I must apologize because I made a mistake while counting, and our total number of owls is even lower than I thought! Despite having low numbers this season, our data is still valuable.
Banding efforts took place for a total of 372.4 hours. Nets were open for all or part of 43 nights.
We captured a total of 82 owls (76 NSWO, 6 LEOW).
Six of the 76 saw-whets were recaptures, originally banded in locations including Whitefish Point, Indiana, and Canada. 7% were male, 88% were female, and 5% were unknown. 46% were second year birds, 17% were third year birds, and 37% were after third year birds.
Barred Owls and Great Horned Owls were detected in the area, but were not captured.
Kim and I both enjoyed working for MSRW this season. Kim will be returning to band owls in the fall and I will be off to grad school! Thank you to all for your support throughout the season.
Northern Michigan weather is not being cooperative as our season is coming to an end. A combination of rain/snow, and strong winds are creating less than ideal conditions for owl banding. We are hoping to get at least a few hours in tonight, and a full night tomorrow for our last night.
I wanted to share this photo taken by Al Moberly of this spring’s seasonal workers. Fom left to right: Kim Edgington (owl bander), Kevin Georg (hawk counter), Jason Newton (waterbird counter), Emily Wilmoth (owl bander).
I will post a brief end of the season summary early next week!
Three saw-whets were banded last night. All were female. One was a third year bird and two were after third year birds. One was the heaviest bird of the season so far, weighing 114 grams!
An Ovenbird was singing this morning.
Tonight should be cloudy with west winds. There is a slight chance of rain.
Three saw-whets were banded last night. All three were second year females. Our total number of owls is now 86.
We had our first bat of the season last night. We also heard a pair of Great Horned Owls calling.
Tonight should be mostly clear with a southeast wind and a low of just 47 degrees!
Four saw-whets were banded last night. This brings our total up to 83 owls. We are hoping to reach 100 by the end of the season.
Another flying squirrel was caught and released last night. An Eastern Towhee was singing this morning.
Tonight should be partly cloudy with an east wind.
Despite a fairly strong northwest wind last night, we banded 7 saw-whets! All of the birds were female, with the exception of one “unknown”. 3 of the birds were second years, and the rest were after third years.
We had another great look at the northern lights last night.
Tonight should be clear had with winds out of the southeast. We hope to continue to see a push of owls coming through as we approach the end of our season.
Band on Northern Saw-whet Owl.
We enjoyed a beautiful display of northern lights while working last night!
We banded one third year, female saw-whet. There was a Barred Owl calling outside of our cabin as well.
A White-throated Sparrow was caught in the nets at sunrise.
Tonight should be clear with a northwest wind.
Two owls were banded last night. One was a saw-whet and one was a long-eared. Both birds were male, which we were able to predict before taking measurements because of their small size.
We closed up nets around 2:30 am due to a combination of lightning, rain, and strong winds.
Tonight should be partly cloudy with winds out of the northwest.
Two Northern Saw-whet Owls were banded last night. Both owls were female. One was a second year bird and one was a third year bird.
We stayed open a little later than usual this morning to see if we could catch any Sharp-shinned Hawks. We were successful, and banded one second year, female sharpie.
Other recent bird sightings around the banding site include Osprey, American Kestrel, Chipping Sparrow, Spotted Sandpiper, and Eastern Whip-poor-will.
We should be able to band for most of the night tonight before a storm rolls in.
Banded Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Northern Saw-whet Owl.
We banded one Northern Saw-whet Owl last night. It was a tiny, second year, male. We also watched a Long-eared Owl take flight around dusk.
There was a Hermit Thrush in our nets at sunrise. We have been enjoying hearing their beautiful songs each morning.
Tonight should be clear with a northwest wind of 5 to 10 mph.