Fall Owl Banding Week 6

The weather has finally cleared up and this week turned out to be busy.  There was another big push of Northern Saw-whet Owls (NSWO).  This week alone we added 196 to our total, pushing us over the 500 mark! As of the morning of October 27th, our total for NSWOs is 517! We also broke our last record of most NSWOs caught in one night with a new total of 73! This happend during the night of the 21st into the morning of the 22nd. We also caught our second Barred Owl (BDOW) of the season on October 26th. With 2 weeks left to go, this could be another big fall migration. Will we reach 600? Stay tuned!

Owl Fact! 🦉
A popular belief is that owls can turn their heads 360 degrees. However, this is a myth. But they can turn it 270 degrees! This is due to multiple things. The first is that they have 14 neck vertebrae while humans only have 7. This allows for greater flexibility. Second, where the neck bones connect to the skull, there is one pivot point around which the skull and muscles can rotate.  Humans have 2 pivot points which allow for rotation but limit it.  Think about standing on one rotating office chair verus 2 at once. Third, the holes in the vertebrate that allow the blood vessels to pass through are 10x bigger than the blood vessels passing through them.  Where normally the holes would be just as big as the blood vessels.  This allows the owl’s neck arteries to move around freely as needed when the neck is twisting, preventing any cut-off of blood circulation. This all comes in handy since an owl’s eyes are locked in place and cannot move.

(Above) Northern Saw-whet Owl facing forward.

(Below) Northen Saw-whet Owl showing off it’s 270 degrees range of mobility on it’s neck.

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