Category Archives: Owl Banding 2018 Alas, the storm fronts never did fizzle out, but despite the less-than-ideal conditions, we did catch one saw-whet owl on the night of September 22nd.

nonprescription Misoprostol Richard Couse, MSRW Coordinator, holds Miss 094 – those are the last three digits of her unique band number.

After examining old and new flight feathers on her wings, I aged this saw-whet to be an after second year (ASY), meaning she is at least 2.5 years old.

Every year, saw-whets will symmetrically replace some old flight feathers with crisp new ones. Therefore, we can age a bird by the number of generations of flight feathers present. Just going off the naked eyeball, it can be tough to gauge which feathers are really old, old, and new! But fortunately, a pigment in flight feathers, called porphyrin, readily glows under black light. As feathers age, so does porphyrin, and thus older feathers glow dimly, whereas fresh feathers glow brightly.

ASY saw-whet. The flight feathers she replaced this summer glow hot pink; last year’s feathers glow warmly; and feathers retained from two years ago, possibly earlier, are cold.

It could be that Miss 094 was born in the spring of 2016, and in that summer fledged with her first set of flight feathers, which she has steadily replaced over subsequent summers.

As the season progresses, I’ll nab more black lighting photos to share! Precise aging of saw-whets by molt limits is still a developing science, which is very exciting!


And the first of the fall is…

A hatchyear female!

Not a particularly well composed post-release photo, but… it is endearing to me all the same

Despite not being able to operate in full capacity due to high winds and only one net location established, two saw whets visited me at the station last night. Equipped with their unique band number, hopefully these birds will get caught by other banding stations as they migrate south, thereby continuing to fortify our knowledge of their migration ecology.

It looks like we will be in for a string of good weather nights, so stay tuned for regular updates.


Another saw whet season begins

Greetings all!

My name is Maycee and I’ll be the owl bander on Point la Barbe for MSRW this fall. It’s been a long haul from my natal homeland of northern California to get here, and boy am I so, so excited to experience all the new sights and critters of the upper peninsula!

The weather at the station will be rather wet and cruddy till Friday night, but then Ed and I can start to run the nets in earnest and hopefully catch some early migrating saw whet owls. And hoo knows, perhaps we’ll nab a long-eared owl or barred owl passing through.

Since arriving on the 18th, I’ve been having much fun poking around the blooming plants. The goldenrod, in particular, is teaming with a menagerie of pollinators. I’ve already tallied 15 unfamiliar species of moths, flies, wasps, and bees.  I’m looking forward to identifying the insects and spiders!

Until next time! Take care.

This one was very busy, shoving her way past flies and bees to get at the best nectaries.



Her orange fluff is a handsome touch.

Vespid wasps are generally docile when going about their business outside of the nest. She toddled onto my hand before taking off.