Good afternoon raptor enthusiasts! Welcome back to another quick update for the spring owl banding blog.
Last night (May 5) was mostly clear with little to no wind. The spring peepers, wood frogs and leopard frogs were out in force as they have been for a good week now.
We caught 5 new saw-whets bringing our spring total up to 169!
For the second night in a row we caught a new species! This time it was a barred owl!
This barred owl had a mass of 616 grams which is much larger than both the saw-whet and long-eared owl. The barred owl is in the Strix genus which also includes the smaller spotted owl that resides in the western United States and the great gray owl which mainly resides in Canada, but may, on rare occasion, find its way into the northern United States. The barred owl can be found through out most of the eastern United States and parts of Canada. Their call is the recognizable “who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” hoot. While we were taking this one out of the net a second barred owl was making that call not far off in the treeline. The main predatory threat to the barred owl is the great-horned owl and most times will not be present in areas where great-horned owls are. We know that there is a pair of great-horned owls near our cabin so it was kind of surprising to find barred owls in the area. However, it was still very exciting to capture and band a species that we have yet to see this spring. Now here’s to hoping there is a great-horned owl in the nets tonight! (not very likely at all, but hey we can dream right?!)
That’s all for now, but be sure to check back often for more updates!
Northern saw-whet owls: 169
Long-eared owls: 1
Barred owls: 1
Sharp-shinned hawks: 2