The night of March 31st, going into the morning of April 1st, it seemed that we were going to have a promising night of banding. As we began to open nets, Sandhill Cranes were stopping over and the Song Sparrows were singing loudly. Coming from the western United States, it is extremely interesting to hear the regional dialect among taxa. The Song Sparrows here seem to have a much higher frequency song compared to the SOSPs in California. Even the Red-winged Blackbirds seem to sing at a different frequency opposed to the ones west of the Rockies.
The night started slow with no captures on our first net round, which is usually at 8:30pm. On our third net run we had 4 NSWOs in net 1. Net 1 is a triangle formation of mist nets, typical for NSWO banding operations. We attract the owls by broadcasting an audio lure in the middle of the triangle. Anyhow, at this point, 4 Saw-whets in a net has been the most we have encountered during a net round. We were exceedingly excited and predicted some big movements for the night. It seemed that April 1st definitely played a trick on us. We ended up with two more captures for the night, totaling 7 NSWOs captures. Our prediction had proved us wrong, but did we reject our predictions too soon?
The following night was a bit more busier than the previous night. Our first capture was at 10:30pm with only one NSWO. As the night progressed, more and more started to fly into the net, leaving us with 12 NSWOs. Although this banding night started the night of April fools, we were presented with a gift from the sky! We captured our first Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) of the season. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush of capturing such an astonishing owl.
This was a great night of banding, leaving us with a total of 13 owls. We are excited for more to come. Stay tuned.