Introducing the Fall 2020 owl-banders

The fall migration owl-banding season has begun! We’ve had a fast start to the season out on Point LaBarbe – more about that in our next blog. First, we, the owl-banders, would like to introduce ourselves to you.

A South Dakota Northern Saw-whet Owl

I’m Nancy Drilling and I am the lead bander. I’m originally from Iowa and now live in the Black Hills of western South Dakota. Since getting a Master’s degree in Biology at Illinois State University, I’ve worked on a variety of bird research and survey projects around the U.S., including research on waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, and colonial waterbirds. I also did a stint with the Peace Corps in Thailand. For the past eight years, I’ve operated three fall migration owl-banding stations in the western Dakotas – in Black Hills National Forest, Custer National Forest in northwestern South Dakota, and Theodore National Park in North Dakota. We usually catch 200-400 Northern Saw-whet Owls there as well as some Long-eared Owls and Eastern Screech-owls. You can read more about the project at: https://birdconservancy.org/saw_whets2018/ As you can see from the photo, saw-whets in the Great Plains are just as cool (and cute) as Michigan saw-whets! I’ve always wanted to experience a migration season on the Great Lakes so I’m very excited to be here at Mackinac Straits for fall migration.

Kandace and a Wisconsin Kirtland’s Warbler

Hi everyone! My name is Kandace Glanville and I’m the assistant owl bander this fall. I’m from Columbus, Ohio and I graduated from The Ohio State University in May 2019 with my Bachelor’s in Wildlife Science. My first time birding was about 3-4 years ago, during my second year of undergrad after taking a birding course up at Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie. I started bird banding during the spring of 2019, during an apprenticeship with Black Swamp Bird Observatory in NW Ohio. I’ve been roaming around working field tech jobs in avian ecology since graduation. In the last year and a half or so, I’ve lived in Ohio, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Brazil, Texas, New Mexico, and now Michigan! I’ve done some banding jobs, nest searching, and radio-telemetry, but all mostly with songbirds (and shorebirds in Brazil!). I’m excited to learn all I can about owls and owl banding, as I’ve never worked with owls before. It has enough similarities to songbird banding that I’m plenty prepared for the work, but also there’s differences that will give me new experience and provide a different field work opportunity to prepare me for a career in avian ecology. After a couple more years of being a field tech nomad and learning as much I can and seeing as much of the world as I can, I plan to pursue a Master’s degree in the field of avian ecology. I’m not exactly sure what I want to do as a full time career one day, but I know that I want to spend my time doing all I can to conserve our natural world.