Nancy and I have had quite the season here on Point LaBarbe, and have caught more owls than we ever could have imagined we would catch! The MSRW fall average is 200-300 Northern saw-whet Owls captured, and a few Long-eared Owls if they’re lucky. For us to have caught 648 Northern Saw-whet Owls, 11 Long-eared Owls, and 2 Barred Owls in ~38 nights of banding is pretty spectacular. We’re both thankful to MSRW for hiring us this fall and allowing us to witness, and to take part in research for this record-breaking boom year in the saw-whet population. For our final night, we caught an interesting foreign recap – it was an after second-year female, that was banded on 10-12-2017 as a second-year female in Falmouth, Cumberland Co., Maine. 2020 is that bird’s 5th year of life (it would have hatched in 2016), and it appears to have gotten to do some traveling despite Covid!
Our season could not have been as successful as it was without the help and encouragement of many people. We would first like to thank Ed Pike, chair of Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch, for not only hiring us and giving us this opportunity to collect data for MSRW, but for teaching us plenty about migration in the Straits and about owl banding.
Thanks to Enbridge for allowing us to live and work on Point LaBarbe and conduct this important research.
We would also like to thank Kathy and Jim Bricker, for bringing visitors, food, and campfires to owl banding, and constantly supporting all of our efforts.
We would like to thank Steve Baker for letting us borrow a bird feeder, to feed all of the chickadees (and occasionally a flying squirrel) at our trailer. In addition, thanks for all of the cranberry muffins that gave us the sustenance to keep banding owls!
Thanks to Ben and Calvin, the MSRW water bird and hawk counters, respectively, for teaching us about identifying birds in flight in the few hours Nancy and I were awake in the daylight each day.
Thanks to Bev and Jack Kirby for the Halloween candy, and for all of the stories and laughter, in addition to all of the MSRW folks and volunteers for their constant hospitality and for welcoming us graciously to the Straits and making it feel more like home for our short time here.
Thanks for a great season!
Final Owl Banding Totals, Fall 2020 Point LaBarbe:
Northern Saw-whet Owl: 648
Long-eared Owl: 11
Barred Owl: 2
Incidental Captures of note:
1 Eastern Whip-poor-will
1 Ruffed Grouse
1 Black-capped Chickadee (at 11:00pm nonetheless!)
1 Swainson’s Thrush