Owl update: October 27 – 30

What could be under the handkerchief?

it’s probably an owl

It’s a big, beautiful red-tailed hawk!  Such fluff and prominent markings.

This is a young bird; red-tail eyes can darken to a deep chestnut with age.
Reminds me of that scene in The Titanic but with less romance and more hawk

Recently, Ed and I set up a special trapping set designed to lure and safely net diurnal raptors.  Right now, diurnal raptor trapping isn’t a dedicated operation with MSRW but perhaps it will be someday!  Even still, it’s wonderful to capture and learn more about just a few of these hawks, falcons, and harriers as they pass through.

On the owl banding front, well… things are slowing down.  Nighttime weather has been clear and quite pleasant lately, but I only caught two birds on the 29th and was skunked last night.

Despite the paucity of saw whets, I met face to face with a bird I’ve been waiting for all season.  The White-Toed Saw Whet.

The leucistic toe is something else!  Perhaps it’s a birth mark?  All owls are special but this one was super special.

In honor of Halloween I’ll share this photo of a spooky saw whet owl.

Although… even being dramatically lit by the lantern, it’s not that spooky.  Saw whets are perhaps the least concerning creature to encounter in the heart of the wood at night.  They don’t really hoot, they toot.  In the spring, males will advertise their territory with a flutey toot-toot-toot call, and occasionally will mew (like a cat) and yap at trespassers in agitation.   These owls are a delight to find and hear while I do my springtime spotted owl work.

11 nights left!  I look forward to what the night brings.

Until next time,

– MH

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