Category Archives: Owl Banding

3 Species at Owl Banding

October 10th has proven to be our most exciting night of the season so far. We finally experienced some species diversity, capturing not only 11 new Saw-whets, but also 1 Barred Owl and 1 Long-eared Owl!

We also received information on one of our foreign recaps (a bird we captured that has already been banded). This particular bird was banded in the fall of 2014 in Point Labarbe. This owl was aged then as an after second year (ASY) female. We aged it as an ASY female as well, meaning that this bird was at least 3 years old in 2014 and is now at least in her 6th year of life! Foreign recaps really help us learn a lot about birds, it is always our hope that our banding birds will eventually be recaptured so that we can continue to collect data on them.

October 11th we opened the nets even though the winds were blowing from the south east which is less than ideal for migration movement. We managed to capture 5 Saw-whets throughout the night. One of these birds was a foreign recap, so stay tuned for a report once we find out where and when it was banded. Overall, the season so far has had good pace and we hope this consistency lasts through the season.

Our season totals are as follows: NSWO: 163

buy diflucan online LEOW: 1      


Total: 165

Our first Barred Owl (Strix varia) ASY/F

Dorsal view of Barred owl wing

Our first Long-eared owl (Asio otus) HY/F

Dorsal view of Long-eared wing.

Owl Banding Update October 10th

Hello all… a quick recap on what has been going on at the station the last few days. After being rained out and closing early on the 6th, the forecast predicted more rain to follow on the 7th. The weather held true and thus we were not able to open all night. On Ocotber 8th the forecast looked like we would have some clear and cool weather which is conducive for owl movement, and we managed to catch 19 owls. The nice weather continued for another night on October 9th which led to us capturing another 14 owls, two of which were foreign recaps. Our season total now stands at 148 Saw-whets.

Some more exciting news we have received the information on one of the 3 recaps mentioned in an earlier post. One of these mystery birds was banded near Duluth Minnesota on October 2016 as a Hatch year (HY) Female. We aged it as a second year (SY) female so it is nice to know we are ageing our recaptures correctly!! Below I have included a chart showing the known recaps from this season to help all you fine folks keep up to date on where some of these birds came from! Tonight looks like it will once again yield many owls with cool temperatures and no wind predicted, we are still anticipating our first Long-eared… we wait with great patience, stay tuned.


RECAPTURED Saw-whets fall 2017


Original Capture Area/Date Age/Sex given intially When we captured Our Age/Sex given
Oct 27, 2016 – Brown County, Wisconsin Hatch year (HY)/ Sex unknown Sept 25, 2017 – Point Labarbe Second year (SY)/ Female
Oct 17, 2016 – Point Labarbe, Michigan Hatch year (HY)/ Female Sept 30, 2017 – Point Labarbe Second Year (SY)/ Female
Sept 17, 2015 – near Duluth Minnesota Hatch Year (HY)/ Female Oct 4, 2017 – Point Labarbe After Second Year (ASY)/ Female


October Owls

A quick update for all who have been keeping up with the action going on here at Point Labarbe. After a successful night on October 4th Frances and I were open most of October 5th. We were able to band another 10 Saw-whets. It was not a great night for owl movement because of the strong winds. On October 6th we had some visitors from Petoskey join us in the hope of seeing their first Saw-whet. Luckily we were able to net 1 owl which made the night a success! After this we had to close around 1 a.m. in the morning due to heavy rain that persisted the rest of the night. Our season total is currently at 115 Saw-whet owls. Still no news on where our 3 foreign recap owls are from but stay tuned!

Up close  portrait of a Saw-whet owl!

Owl Banding Update October 5th

Once again in just two days a lot has happened down here at the owl banding station. October 3rd brought un-cooperative weather with strong winds from the south east and rain that was off and on all night. Due to these conditions Frances and I were unable to open the nets.

On October 4th we had our second field trip of the season. We had a fish and wildlife class from Sault College, Ontario. As always, and especially since we had guests, we hoped that the winds would die down and that owl movement would be good. It turned out that this night would be our second busiest of the season as we were able to net 18 Saw-whet owls! Three of these birds were foreign recaps that were banded somewhere else so stay tuned to find out where they came from. It appears that the owls like to show up on nights with a lot of people… coincidence? I’m not sure, we were definitely happy though. We also ended up banding our 100th bird of the season last night and our season total to date is 104. We patiently and hopefully await the movement of Long-eared owls through the area as well.

100th Saw-whet of the Season!

An older owl captured last night, aged as an After second year (ASY) bird. She is in at least her third year of life. We wish you a successful migration!


Owl Update Happy October !

Just a quick update on what has been going on at the owl banding station. After the great night we had during the SAAS field trip last weekend, both Frances and I hoped that this bounty of owls would stay consistent and steady. Here’s a recap of the last three nights:

On September 30th we were open all night and managed to net 7 more Saw-whets, 6 being newly banded and 1 being a foreign recap. This bird was banded as a Hatch Year right here at Point Labarbe last fall. We aged and sexed it as a second year (SY) female. It was cool to see that one bird was taking the same migration route as she did last year!

October 1st, once again we were open all night however due to moderately strong wind from the south east this did not facilitate owl movement of any sort. Luckily we were able to catch 2 Saw-whets early in the morning after the wind had died down a bit. One we newly banded and the other a foreign recap. However the band number for this recap has not yet been submitted so we don’t yet know where it came from!

October 2nd, winds continued from the south east. They were even stronger than on October 1st. There were no owls until early in the morning when the winds died down. We managed to capture 3 more owls. Two of them being caught at 6:30 in the morning! As of today our season total is at 86 Saw-whet owls, stay tuned foe more excitement from the Point !!

Foreign Recap, that was banded right here in Point Labarbe last fall !
(SY) Female

Owl Mania X2

Hello again loyal followers! Once again we were open all night on the 29th. The weather was superb with clear skies, a half moon and cool temperatures it was ideal  for owl movement. We also had some visitors for the first time this season as the Straits Area Audubon Society decided to take a field trip to come and visit the station and witness the excitement first hand.

With all of these people coming to visit Frances and I hoped that there would be plenty of owls to show everyone. Lucky enough this night yielded 22 total owls which has been the best night so far this season bringing our season total to 74. By 11:00 p.m. we had already caught 10 owls and everyone was thrilled to get to see these magnificent birds in hand. Add to that a beautiful sunset, and a night sky full of constellations making the night at the Point all the better. We cant wait to see the Straits Area Audubon Society again!


Saw-Whet banding update September 28th

Good evening MSRW blog followers! Just a quick update on what has been going on. On September 27th we had our nets open all night and were able to catch 9 more Saw-whets. The season total is now at 52!

The excitement of last night was catching an ASY (After Second Year) female. This means that this bird is in at least its third year of life. We know this by examining the remiges (flight feathers) under UV light to see which feathers fluoresce pink. More pink means newest or the freshest feathers and if we see little or none it is an older feather that has not been replaced or was replaced quite a while ago. Thus the picture below shows three generations of feathers meaning the bird is at least in its third year!! We wish her a successful migration and hopefully she will return next spring to raise a family.

1 of 9 Saw-whets captured last night

After Second Year (ASY) molt pattern of Northern Saw- whet owl

Owl Banding Update September 27th

Greetings everyone! After reporting the band number on our foreign recap yesterday we have learned that we captured a bird that was originally banded in Brown County, Wisconsin in the fall of 2016 as a hatch year (HY) bird. We were also happy to hear that we aged it correctly as a second year (SY) bird. It is always reassuring to know that you are aging birds correctly.

On September 25th, we were open all night. The skies were clear, the temperatures finally cooled down a bit, and there was a quarter moon. We suspected that these conditions would contribute to us having another successful night of banding. Indeed, this seemed to be the case as we banded 12 more owls.  On the 26th we were only able to open for a few hours before we had to close due to strong winds but managed to capture 2 more owls bringing our season total to 43 Saw-whets in just a week.

One of 12 Saw-whets captured on the night of the 25th.

Owl Mania!

Hello fellow Strigiphiles. As promised, there is more excitement to share with you from the previous banding nights. During the last three nights (Sept. 22, 23, and 24) we had exceptionally good weather with clear skies and no wind. Although it was quite warm, conditions nevertheless were still good for owl banding.

The night of the 22nd added 3 newly banded Saw-whets to the total season count. However, the first big night occurred on the 23rd in which we captured and banded 14 new Saw- whets. Then on the night of the 24th we captured 4 Saw- whets, one of which was previously banded somewhere else. Frances and I aged this bird as a second year (SY) female. It will be interesting to see how old this bird was when it was initially banded and where it came from. To date since opening our nets we have a total of 29 Northern Saw- whet captures, 28 of which we banded and 1 foreign recapture. Stay tuned for our next blog post to find out where our mystery owl came from!

Second Year (SY) female Saw-whet foreign recapture

You can clearly see the molt limit on this owl. The darker feathers indicate the newest generation of feathers replaced this fall, The more dull light brown are older retained feathers that are yet to be replaced.

Owl Banding Updates

Good evening loyal blog followers. After having to close early on the night of the 20th, Frances and I were able to keep the nets open all night on the 21st. The night was good as it yielded 5 newly banded Saw-whets despite very foggy and warm conditions which are not the most favourable weather conditions to elicit Saw-whet movement.

The highlights of our banding night included catching 2 second year (SY) male birds. This means both these boys hatched the spring/summer of 2016. Tonight looks like the weather will be good to be open all night again. We hope the owls are plentiful and look forward to sharing all the excitement that ensues!

One of the Second year (SY) males caught

The typical molt pattern exhibited by SY birds. Here the pink feathers are new feathers replaced this year, and the non-fluorescent, dull feathers are feathers retained from last year. In SY birds the outer primaries and innermost secondaries is the pattern of replacement seen.