Spring is Here… Owl Style

Spring is here! 

Hello once again fellow MSRW supporters and followers! My name is Nick Alioto and I will be the lead owl bander for the spring 2019 season. For those of you who do not know me let me give you a rundown of my experience here with MSRW as this is not my first rodeo here!  It all started in 2017 when I was hired to be the assistant bander for the spring season. I loved it so much I decided to come back again to be the lead bander for the fall 2017 season! I then took a brief hiatus in 2018 to take on a new adventure in Canada. That being said I still thought about Northern Michigan and knew I would like to do one more season here and I am thrilled to be back yet again in an area that I consider to be my second home. Now enough about me let’s talk owls and migration shall we.

Checking the band number on the foreign recap.

Our protocol officially began on March 20th but me and my assistant (Andy) arrived here on the 18th to get settled in and set-up.  Now I would be lying if I said setting up was a little tougher than normal and this was due to all the snow accumulation here in the park. Nonetheless we persevered and had all the nets set up in a mere couple of hours and were ready to go. The first night of banding we were only able to stay open until 11:30 due to rain  but still managed to capture our first Northern saw-whet owl on the first day of spring… Coincidence I think not! On the 21st we were able to stay open almost the whole night until strong winds picked up round 4am. However while open we were able to capture 5 new NSWO and 2 Recaps. Then on the 22nd we were once again forced to shut down early due to strong winds however we managed to capture 3 more new NSWO. March is always unpredictable but we are certainly off to a good start despite it still being very early and having to deal with adverse weather every night that we have been open thus far. 

Now you must be thinking what about those recaps I mentioned earlier? Well lucky for you I have the information on both of them due to my diligence and commitment to doing a good job along with providing all the information to you fine folks who read this! Our first recap turned out to be a bird that was originally banded here in Cheboygan State park in the Spring of 2018 as a third year female, we aged it and sexed it as after third year female. The second bird we captured was our first foreign recapture for the season and this bird was originally banded at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory in Paradise Michigan in 2017 as Hatch year unknown bird. We aged and sexed it as a third year female; it is always exciting to capture other bander’s birds. Tonight looks like the first night that we will be able to be open all night and we are hoping that we will get a good push of migrants. Stay tuned for more updates from yours truly,

Nick Alioto

Season Totals:


Recaptures: 2 NSWO

Total: 11

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