Sunday, November 3, 2013


Last night, during our Owl Night Out donation for the Fight Against Alzheimer's -we had an amazing surprise, a Foreign Recovery of a NSWO.
Fighting to end Alzheimer's -
Our very fun and birding savvy group!
Bander/volunteer Michelle Ocken just before releasing Miss
Iowa!  Michelle's smile shows our group's excitement.
This means we recaptured an owl originally banded elsewhere, only the second time for us since 2005 and over 500 owl banding/captures. Our excitement was high when after looking through our data, we soon discovered she was not one of "our birds."  Her band number did not match any of the band strings. By examining her molt pattern we identified her as a Second Year (SY) female, meaning she was hatched last year in 2012. When I got home I input her band information into the Bird Banding Laboratory - Report a Bird - page and here is what I found this morning in my inbox: 

Banding Location: Hitchcock Nature Center, NR Honey Creek, Pottawatomie County, IOWA!  She was banded Nov. 2012 as a Hatch Year/Female. 
Project Owlnet Map of all NSWO banding stations across 
North America. I  circled our banding station at BCCER in blue 
and the banding station where Miss Iowa was first banded.
What a trip - Literally! While we don't know what her journey looks like, but here is a likely scenario. We know she was banded in Iowa, fall 2012. She likely flew north in the spring and bred somewhere in Canada (?) in 2013. This fall she flew to us.  The mystery lies in the in between route from station to station-and one that will always remain a mystery. 
Google Earth image showing two banding locations and
terrain in between sites

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