Spring Owl Banding: Week 1

Hello from Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park! I’m Danny Erickson and I’ll be this season’s resident night owl surveying and banding migrant nocturnal raptors for MSRW. An avid bird enthusiast, I’m from southeast Wisconsin where I study raptor ecology, reproduction, and migratory trends through banding. This is my first season at a spring raptor count and banding station, so I’m excited to see what the Straits have to offer!

Right out of the gate we had early success with 3 Northern Saw-whet Owls (NSWO) caught. We had a flush of activity with 12 NSWO caught the very next night on 3/21! While still early, it seems the cool, clear nights may predict a another productive spring.

This little buddy was the first owl caught of the 2023 spring season.

Towards the end of the night, I was surprised with a Barred Owl (BDOW/BAOW) that was caught in our net arrays. Truly stunning creatures with what the infamous Captain Clint once noted as deep “black eyes, like a doll’s eyes”.

The first BDOW of the 2023 spring season.

So far, we’re up to 22 NSWO and 2 BDOW caught and banded. I’m excited to see what the season brings, and am grateful to have the chance to contribute to long-term research gathering data. Handling these birds and being able to study them so close is a unique privilege I keep in mind every net run. Thank you to all donors and supporters of MSRW for supporting this work. Lastly, thank you to Executive Director Scott Davis and Ed Pike for helping set up nets!

Stay tuned for more owl-related excitement!

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