And….. We’re off! Owl Mania 2k19

Greetings once again fellow MSRW supporters and followers! Since my last blog there has been a lot going on out here in Cheboygan and I’m here to catch all you fine folks up on the latest news. Brace yourself there is quite a lot… which is a good thing trust me! After starting off the season with a great push of owls it has only gotten better for us since the 22nd. Since then we have been consistently open every night and have only stayed closed on the 27th due to rain and on the 30th due to high winds.

In that time frame we have managed to capture 51 more Saw-whets. Our best night was on the 28th when we captured 22 birds. The previous night we were closed due to rain which probably helped us in the sense that owls don’t typically move in bad weather. Therefore the nice weather we had the following day created a big push of owls that night, which decided to wait out the rain before continuing north. This resulted in a great banding night here at the cabin. It is always exciting to have a big night so that we can stay busy through the long hours in which we normally just sit in the dark and watch the wood stove like a TV. Anyways, out of those 51 new saw-whets 4 of these ended up being recaptures, 3 foreign and 1 local. The local recapture turned out to be yet another bird that was originally banded here in Cheboygan State Park this past spring. We also had our 2nd foreign recapture via Whitefish Point and the other two were Canadian birds which were both quite exciting in their own respective ways! Let me give you the quick rundown. The first bird was originally banded at Long Point Bird Observatory in southern Ontario. This bird was interesting because it was banded their originally in the fall of 2017 and aged as an after second year bird, meaning it was at least three years old at that point. We captured it and aged it as an after third year bird which was the correct age assigned based on how it had replaced its feathers over the years…. man I’m good! BUT what that technically means is that this owl is at least 5 years old and she’s definitely clocked a lot of miles over the years migrating and probably has raised quite a few families along the way. It’s always awesome to catch older birds to learn more about their molt, longevity and migration routes.

Now for that other Canadian owl, this bird was banded this past fall in a small town called Hilliardton, which is located in the Boreal forest of Northern Ontario, now you might ask how I know all that. Well funny enough I spent all of 2018 at the Hilliardton Marsh Research & Education center as their intern assistant bander but I also helped run their fall owl protocol. So to me this is exciting that a bird I banded this past fall managed to get caught in one of our nets here in Cheboygan?!?! It’s crazy and exciting all at the same time. I guess she wanted to stop in and make sure I’m doing good, well thanks little lady I sure am and it was good to see that she was healthy and doing good as she continues north to the boreal forest to hopefully raise a family this summer!

This week we will also be putting out an audio lure for Long-eared owls (LEOW) out at our furthest nets in the hopes to capture more as they move through the area in the next few upcoming weeks. As my old boss in Hilliardton would say “If birds are business then business is goooddd!” We hope this great push of migrants continues and I will continue to give you all updates on what goes on out here in the woods! Until next time keep your eyes to the sky and stay classy folks!

Season Totals:

NSWO: 56

Recaptures: 6 NSWO

Total: 62