Saw-whet Owl migration (and banding) is winding down

Its been a record-breaking year at MSRW’s Point LaBarbe owl-banding station but all good things must come to an end. Starting Halloween night, we noticed a marked decrease in the number of Northern Saw-whet Owls landing in our nets. Part of the reason has been some sub-optimal migration conditions – especially winds and a bright full moon. Saw-whet movements tend to be depressed with high winds and bright conditions. But last night (November 5th/6th) we had perfect conditions – calm and dark – but caught ‘just’ eight saw-whets. In most years, eight would be a great number but this year, single-digit nightly captures have been rare. Early to mid-November is typically when saw-whet migration winds down so this is not surprising. Hopefully our record-breaking number of banded birds are somewhere down south and finding lots of rodents to eat!

Last night we also had a pleasant surprise – our 11th Long-eared Owl of the season. Also a record for the Point LaBarbe banding station.

After-second-year aged male Long-eared Owl captured at the Point LaBarbe owl-banding station on November 5th. Photo by Nancy Drilling

We will continue to band into next week – could we possibly reach 650 saw-whets for the season? Stay tuned . . . .

Owl-banding totals September 18th through November6th:

Northern Saw-whet Owl: 634

Long-eared Owl: 11

Barred Owl: 2

Eastern Whip-poor-will: 1

Ruffed Grouse: 1

-Nancy Drilling, lead owl-bander

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest
Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get notified about new articles

Login to your account

Job Opportunities

Executive Director Position Available