Category Archives: Owl Banding 2016

Owl Banding 10/24/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 24th, 2016

I’m not sure yet if migration is slowing down or it was the Southeast winds that kept movement down so low last night, but I only caught 2 new Saw-whets last night! Southeast winds are notoriously bad for migration, as it’s not a very good idea for owls to try and fly south into a head wind! Of the 2 birds netted, 1 was an after second year female, and the other was a hatch year male. Coupled with last night’s low numbers I’m wondering if migration is almost over, I’m hoping not as there is still about 2 weeks left in the banding season. Maybe the owls are better at telling the weather (unlike the meteorologists!) and they know something about the front that has been trying to move in for the last couple days. I’ll just have to wait and see!

Owl Banding 10/23/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 23rd, 2016

High winds made for a relatively slow night, totaling only 12 new Saw-whets caught (Its weird to think what I would have considered a good night this spring is now considered a slow night this fall!). 9 were female (6 hatch years, and 3 after second year birds), 1 was male (another hatch year), and the last 2 were unknown (1 second year, and an after second year bird). Our season total is now up to 473 Northern Saw-whet Owls banded, 4 Long-eared Owls, and 1 Barred Owl.

Owl Banding 10/22/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 22nd, 2016

Light, lake effect rain in the beginning of the night made for rather frequent net checks for the first few hours the nets were open, but it still turned out to be a pretty good night over all. 29 Saw-whets were netted, 2 of those being foreign retraps, and another 2 were repeats from previous nights. We caught 25 females (14 hatch year birds, 2 second year birds, and 9 after second year birds), and 4 unknowns (all hatch year birds). This is one of very few nights were no males were caught!

Owl Banding 10/21/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 21st, 2016

33 new Saw-whet owls and our very first Barred owl of the season were banded last night. It was the first Barred owl I have handled and definitely the largest bird I’ve held, how exciting! Barred owls and notoriously hard to age and sex so the one banded was aged as an after hatch year and its sex was indeterminable. Of the Saw-whets banded, 27 were female (16 hatch years, 1 second year, and 10 after second year birds), 3 were male (all hatch years), and the last 3 were unknowns (2 hatch years and 1 after second year). Our seasons total is now up to 432 Saw-whet owls, 4 Long-eared owls, and 1 Barred owl!

Owl Banding 10/20/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 20th, 2016

Another decent night of banding last night, totaling in 30 new birds. All were new birds except one, which was banded as an after second year female in Stevens Point Wisconsin in 2015. That makes the bird, at the very least, 5 years old! Of the new birds netted, 22 were female (13 hatch years, 1 second year, and 8 after second years), 4 were male (all hatch year birds), and 4 were unknowns (all hatch years as well). We were able to get some information back on two previously banded birds from the night before also. One bird was banded as an after second year bird in 2015 at a station in Malden Center Ontario, and the other was banded as and after second year in 2014 at a station in Lynchburg Virginia, the first bird recorded from that state at this banding operation! Interesting that it chose to migrate further in land instead of traveling down the Atlantic coast again.

Owl Banding 10/19/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 19th, 2016

Calm weather made for a mellow but steady night, totaling in 28 new birds netted, including another Long-eared Owl! We caught 27 new Saw-whets, 2 were foreign retraps, and one bird was a repeat from 10 days prior. Of the Saw-whets, 19 were female (6 hatch years, 6 second years, and 7 after second years), 6 were males (5 hatch years, and 1 second year), and 2 unknowns (both were hatch years). The Long-eared owl was aged as a hatch year and its sex was indeterminable. We have banded a total of 369 Saw-whets so far, and 4 Long-eareds… What a season!

Owl Banding 10/18/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 18th, 2016

After a night off due to bad weather, we had a fantastic night of banding, totaling in 56 birds netted! It seemed that a ton of birds had trickled their way down south and were waiting in the trees for a nice night to cross the straits. As soon as nets were open we were drowning in birds and there were 16 birds in the first net run, which is very unusual, as we usually don’t catch anything in the first run. Out of the 56 birds netted last night, 54 were new birds, 1 was a repeat from the previous night, and the other was a foreign retrap. We totaled 39 female birds (25 hatch years, 2 second years, and 10 after second years), 5 males (4 hatch years, and 1 second), and 11 undetermined sex (10 hatch years, and 1 second year).

One male hatch year Saw-whet was partially leucistic and had one white talon!

One male hatch year Saw-whet was partially leucistic and had one white talon!

 

Owl Banding 10/16/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 16th, 2016

Another exciting weather night made for a decent night of banding, netting us a total of 22 new birds. We banded 16 females (11 hatch years, 3 second years, and 2 after second year birds), 2 males (both hatch year birds), and 4 unknown birds (3 hatch years and 1 second year). The weather started calm with a slight breeze of 2-3 mph at opening around 8 pm, escalating to 6-15 mph at 1 am, 11-17 mph at 2 am, 15 – 27 mph at 4 am and finally topping out at 18 -29 mph accompanied by frequent lightening at 6 am bringing me to the decision of closing the nets a little early. And boy am I glad I did, as the skies opened and it started dumping right before 7 am, right when I would have been doing my last net check!

Photos courtesy of Rob Routledge, Professor at Sault College

Measuring wing cord, which helps determine the owl's sex (as with all raptors, females are larger than males)

Measuring wing cord, which helps determine the owl’s sex (as with all raptors, females are larger than males)

Using special pliers to attach a leg band marking the Saw-whet owl with a unique number

Using special pliers to attach a leg band marking the Saw-whet owl with it’s own unique number

 

Owl Banding 10/14/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 14th, 2016

A short night due to weather again, but we netted a total of 9 birds for the visiting college students from Sault St. Marie college. 2 birds were repeats from previous nights and another was a foreign recapture. Of the 7 new birds, all were female. 4 of the birds were hatch years, 1 was a second year, and the last 2 birds were aged as after second years. Around 2am the wind picked up and finally by 4am the wind was blowing hard enough that I decided to close the nets.

Owl Banding 10/13/16

Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, MI
Night of October 13th, 2016

After a night off due to rain, we had yet another good night of banding. We got off to a slow start, with winds out on the point being too strong to open the far nets for the first couple of hours. However, after the winds died down and the heavy cloud cover broke up, there was a nice movement of birds rounding out the night with 29 new birds netted! 25 birds were female (14 hatch years, 2 second years, and 3 after second year birds), 1 was male (a hatch year bird), and the last 3 were sexed as unknown (all were hatch year birds). One of the after second year female birds was previously banded in Duluth Minnesota in October 2014. Interesting to know that they don’t always fly the same way south every year during migration!