While we are always excited about beginning our migration monitoring season, we are also excited to complete the season, to see what the population of saw-whets looked like this year and how it compares to others. This season, our 7th year of monitoring, we had another outstanding fall, banding 90 saw-whets! We also had our very first ever foreign recovery. This means that some other banding station banded the bird, and she was recaptured at our station. This picture of our foreign recovery we named Lola, was taken by saw-whet owl researcher Julie Shaw, after we fit her with a radio transmitter to follow her movements. Although this photo makes Lola appear angry, the elongated, slimming posture is also a cryptic behavior (although she might have been a little peeved that she was found during the day on her roost!).While currently we don't know where she was originally banded, we should early 2012 after all banding data is submitted to the Bird Banding Laboratory.
But back to our usual excitement! During the fall 2011 season we captured and banded 90 owls. An examination of the population is dominated by adults (51, those hatched in 2010 or earlier) with only 39 hatch year birds (those hatched in 2011). This ratio of adult to young birds indicates good survivabilty of adult owls, and perhaps a lower productivity or a lower survival of young birds. Next posting I will compare these numbers to 2010 owls.