Raptor Trapping 2020: Kicking the Season Off!

   As the snow begins to melt and the ice breaks up over the straits, we now hear Red-wings and Robins singing daily, signaling that spring is here! This means that many birds are starting their journey north to return to their breeding grounds for the summer. We here at MSRW are excited about documenting the ongoing raptor migration in a new way this spring.

   As some of you may remember in past seasons, we had mentioned capturing diurnal raptors on occasion. Usually it was when we owl banders thought we had enough energy to stay up even longer during the day than normal. We would then set up a trapping rig and attempt to catch whatever diurnal raptors may be flying over, usually with pretty good success.

   After leaving Michigan last spring I accepted a job with Intermountain Bird Observatory in Boise, Idaho. Now this is one of the premiere raptor trapping spots in the country and I was fortunate enough to be trained and eventually became one of their lead trappers at their primary trapping site. After that job had finished, I knew that I needed to use what I had learned and bring it here to MSRW and combine that with all the knowledge Ed Pike, the chair of MSRW has and bring to fruition a full-time spring trapping station here! We both knew of the potential due to how spectacular the spring migration is in these parts and from how well we had done trapping in previous years.  Well we have done it! We have designed a whole station set-up to catch raptors. This will occur from April through to May. We got a head start and set-up partially on March 27th and hopefully everything will be up by Monday March 30th weather permitting. With only two mist nets, the 27th was a very successful first day with 3 adult Sharp-shinned hawks and 2 adult red-tailed hawks being captured. We hope you stay tuned to future blog posts as migration heats up and things get better and better. Until next time, stay classy folks


Nick Alioto

Spring 2020 Raptor Trapping Totals:

3 – SSHA (Sharp-shinned Hawk)

2- RTHA (Red-Tailed Hawk)

Total Birds: 5

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