Owl update: of all the woodland creatures (Sept 21-24)

I am happy to introduce our first netted critter of the season: an eastern whip-poor-will, met Monday night.

A delightfully peculiar critter.

This one hatched this spring, indicated by its set of juvenile flight feathers and wide buffy tinge to tail. I found it at the net array where the saw-whet owl audio lure is place – I wonder if the nightjar was attracted to the call as well, or just happened to amble along into the net by happenstance.

I must take a moment to profess my profuse adoration for nightjars, goatsuckers, frogmouths, nighthawks and the myriads of quirky common names.

Anyway, without further delay, I am also happy to introduce our first saw-whet owl, a girthy female (102 grams, an excellent weight) who also hatched this spring and is undertaking her first migration.

Noble and fierce little predator, the saw-whet owl.

Alas, these are the only two captured avians to report as of late. I believe migration is delayed this season due to the balmy weather, but perhaps a few more owls and friends will trickle into the station before cold fronts come and migration can start in earnest.

Last fall, there was speculation that it was a poor reproductive year because of regional population crashes of the red vole, which is a major prey resource for small owls. However, last night I encountered a small good omen:

Vole.

I hope to see a higher proportion of healthy young owls stream down through the Straits.

Until next time,

Maycee

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