Over the last four weeks, we have had 9 previously banded NSWOs pass through our banding station here at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park. Coincidentally, they have all been females! Three of these individuals were banded by Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch owl banders during previous seasons, and 4 of our recaptured individuals were originally banded at different banding stations. We are still waiting for information regarding two of our recaptured NSWOs.
The four birds that were banded by a different project are known as “foreign recoveries” or “foreign recaptures”. The first was banded as a two-year old last fall at the Kelleys Island banding station in Ohio. The second was banded as a two-year old during the 2017 fall banding season at the Long Point Bird Observatory banding station in Canada; that means she’s at least 5 years old! The third was banded a little closer to “home”- it was a juvenile last summer at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. And we just received information that the fourth foreign recovery was banded during the 2020 fall banding season near Nashville, Indiana!
As for the individuals that do not have any information listed yet… It’s highly likely that these owls were already captured, and banded, for the first time this spring at a different banding station somewhere along their migration route. All banding sites update their data at the end of the year, so MSRW will likely find out these banding origins then.
The data collected – date banded, age when banded, sex, wing/tail measurements, and banding location – contributes to the overall knowledge of migration routes and demographics of Northern saw-whet owls.
Season Totals (March 15 through April 19)
Northern Saw-whet Owls: 95 (86 New, 9 recap)
Barred Owl: 1