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The Return of SNOW!
Let me start off by saying that it is great to back in Northern Michigan for another winter (yes, I really do enjoy the winters up here!). I am excited to be continuing our work from last winter of surveying and banding Snowy owls in the area. This year we began our season on December...
Talons Over Mackinac, November 2020
Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch NewsletterNovember 30, 2020 Sharing Victories MSRW Launches New Website Thanks to a grant from Petoskey Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch just updated our seven-year-old website!  Now you can much more easily find the birds that we see, the people that we work with, and the amazing stories of both...
The End of the 2020 Fall Season
Nov 9th was my last full day of counting, as Nov 10th was an overall miserable weather day. So with the season coming to an official end, I thought it would be great to break down this record year of waterbird migration. From Aug 20th, 2020 until Nov 10th, 2020 I counted 79 days and...
The End of a Record-breaking Season
Nancy and I have had quite the season here on Point LaBarbe, and have caught more owls than we ever could have imagined we would catch! The MSRW fall average is 200-300 Northern saw-whet Owls captured, and a few Long-eared Owls if they’re lucky. For us to have caught 648 Northern Saw-whet Owls, 11 Long-eared...
The 1st week of November
I have to apologize for the missing blogs, there has been some technological glitches and WiFi errors here on my end. However, here is an update on what the November season has looked like so far. Long-tailed Ducks had moved through the area fairly consistently all throughout late October, but had begun to trickle in...
Saw-whet Owl migration (and banding) is winding down
Its been a record-breaking year at MSRW’s Point LaBarbe owl-banding station but all good things must come to an end. Starting Halloween night, we noticed a marked decrease in the number of Northern Saw-whet Owls landing in our nets. Part of the reason has been some sub-optimal migration conditions – especially winds and a bright...
Processing a Northern Saw-whet Owl
As bird banders, the most important thing to us besides our own safety is the birds’ safety. We do absolutely everything we can to minimize any stress or harm to the birds. One facet of this is to reduce the amount of time we have the birds, from first capture to release, and especially the...
New Fall owl-banding records!
At the beginning of MSRW’s 2020 fall owl-banding season back in September, we speculated on the number of owls we might catch. A good year would be 400 Northern Saw-whet Owls and several Long-eared Owls. We have greatly exceeded all expectations. Thursday night we captured our 600th saw-whet, a record for the fall banding season....
Introducing the Northern Saw-whet Owl – a lean, mean, mouse-eating machine!
To humans, the Northern Saw-whet Owl (hereafter saw-whet), our target species at MSRW’s owl-banding stations, is cute. It is diminutive, docile, soft and fluffy, and has big beautiful yellow eyes. Saw-whets are sit-and-wait predators, sitting on a low branch waiting for prey to come by. Their usual prey are mice, especially deer mice, and voles....
Busy Night at the Owl-Banding Station
Last Saturday night, we finally got a full night of excellent weather at MSRW’s Point LaBarbe owl-banding station. Under high clouds, no significant precipitation and little wind, we caught a record number of owls. Sixty-one Northern Saw-whet Owls landed in our nets between 7:30 PM and 7:30 AM. Over 80% of these owls were young...
Owl Diversity in Michigan
At MSRW’s Point LaBarbe owl-banding station, we have been catching three species of owls this fall – Northern Saw-whet Owls (our target species), Long-eared Owls, and Barred Owls. In past years, the fall banding station has also caught Boreal Owls, which we would be delighted to catch this year. The checklist of Michigan Birds lists...
Our 400th Northern Saw-whet Owl!
Last night, we had a decent push of migration and caught 20 Northern Saw-whet Owls, bringing our season total to 416. Next benchmark goal is 500 saw-whets, here’s hoping we’ll get there! Owl banding totals September 18th through October 20th: Northern Saw-whet Owl: 416 Long-eared Owl: 4 Barred Owl: 2 -Kandace Glanville
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