2018 Spring Owl Banding Update

Good afternoon fellow raptor enthusiasts! Welcome back to another update for the spring owl banding blog. It seems, for the moment anyway, that spring has FINALLY arrived here in the straits. I hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine and warmer temperatures as much as we are. Although most of our waking hours are spent checking nets at night Connor and I have some time at dawn and in the late afternoon to see our surroundings during the daylight hours. This is our time to make trips into town to stock up on groceries, connect to the internet and do some birding.

With that being said we’ve been somewhat stranded at the cabin since the last snowstorm came through. When we last left you it was Saturday the 14th and there were strong winds blowing through that prevented us from opening the nets that night. Then the following two nights, the 15th and 16th, the snowstorm rolled through which again prevented us from opening the nets and leaving the cabin. Tuesday came around and Ed Pike met us at the nearest plowed road (a 1.5 mile hike from the cabin) and drove us into town to buy some groceries and stop for some fast food. Upon returning to the cabin we attempted to open the nets for the first time since Friday the 13th, however the nets were still iced up so we couldn’t open them. We’d also like to give a shout out to Kathy Bricker and her husband Jim. They were kind enough to let us come over to their house and shower, do laundry, charge electronics and eat a meal. Thanks so much to Ed and Kathy and Jim for helping us out!

Finally on Wednesday (18th) the ice had melted off the nets and we were able to open for a full night of trapping. Unfortunately we didn’t catch any owls. Last night (19th) was more of the same, a full night of checking empty nets. However, around 2am while we were doing a net check we happened to look to Northwest to see the northern lights glimmering in the night sky! This was the first time either of us have seen the northern lights, so we grabbed our cameras and snapped a few photos to capture the event.

In the photo we’re looking Northwest with the lights on the far left being those of the Mackinaw Bridge.

With more pleasant weather on the way we’re hopeful that the saw-whets (and possibly long-ears) will start moving through again. Thanks for checking in and be sure to come back for more spring owl banding updates as well as updates from the hawk and waterbird counts!

-Matthew

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