Banding returns for Raptors

When conducting long term migration research using banding, returns are few for most species. With the numbers of people presently conducting research on N. Saw-whet Owls we get quite a few returns for that species. Most other species result in few returns although the larger species are more easily found after death and people sometimes see the leg band.

This winter I have had 2 bands reported. One: an American Kestrel was found slightly injured in a warehouse near Indianapolis, Indiana, on Nov. 29, 2020. The band number was reported to the Bird Banding Lab. who advised me of this information. I banded the Kestrel as a nestling on June 30, 2020 in a nest box about 7 miles south of Cheboygan; in cooperation with the Little Traverse Conservancy Kestrel box program. The Kestrel was sent to a rehabber and will hopefully be able to be released.

The second was a Red-tailed Hawk found dead under some conifers in a yard near Holly, Michigan on Feb. 11, 2021. The Red-tail was captured and banded by Nick Alioto at Mackinaw City on April 26, 2019 as part of MSRW’s pilot Raptor trapping project. When banded it was aged as an after third year adult; meaning it was 4 years old or older. Being found this winter means the bird was at least 6 years old when it died. It certainly would have been interesting to know where the Red-tail traveled over the last 2 years.

MSRW is hoping to purchase some backpack transmitters to place on Red-tailed Hawks starting spring 2021 as part of Nick Alioto’s Red-tailed Hawk Master Thesis research. With deployment of these transmitters we will be able to follow some of the Red-tails during their travels. The transmitters typically work for up to 3 years which should provide some valuable information about the migration, wintering areas, and nesting areas for the Red-tails crossing the Mackinac Straits. Each transmitter costs $1,357.00 If you can support this special project, send a check to MSRW at P.O. Box 465, Petoskey, MI. 49770; or donate on the website, stating the donation is for the Red-tailed Hawk project.

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