Sunday, October 30, 2016


We had a very interesting night last night netting 7 owls! 3 of those owls were recaptures from 3 different previous nights, the most same season recaptures I have ever caught in one night. The owls were banded 10, 8 and 6 days prior.These owls are using the Reserve as a restful migration stop, or may winter on site if they prey base (mice and voles) are good.  Most owls this year are quite chunky with good fat reserves and high body mass. It is good to know they are eating well!
 Milk Chocolate Owl
The owls are always unique but some individuals really stand out. Last night we banded this very richly plumed brown and buff owl. The juveniles are brown so I was thinking she retained some juvenal plumage but no, she was a second year bird, and just unique in color. A very beautiful owl!

Ken holding the Chocolate Owl before release

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Unpredictable is a synonymous word for Northern Saw-whet Owl! 1-5 owls per night since we started this season, and then, on the most perfect night, in the peak of the season- 0 owls! But here we are with 22 owls almost 1/2 way through the season.We never know what will happen next but this is what the year looks like so far, 22 owls:
Two owls, maybe migrating together? 
October 5- 1 owl
October 12- 1 owl
October 16- cancelled due to rain
October 17- 5 owls
October 19 -3 owls
October  20- 5 owls
October 21- 3 owls
October 23 - 4 owls
October 24- cancelled due to rain
October 25- cancelled due to rain
October 26 - 0 owls!

Friday, October 7, 2016


Yes, year 12! October 5 kicked off our informal banding season to determine early owl arrival. In 2.5 hours we had a mix of weather, clear and cool, with gusts of wind, then quiet. We also had a mix of netted critters; a Western Screech Owl, Northern Flying Squirrel and our first of the season Northern Saw-whet Owl, a male!

Young N. Flying Squirrel. Photo by Julie Woodruff
The flying squirrel was probably just about 3 months old based on size, but very mobile and active. Squirrels bite readily and hard, so caution to the human hand, and holding the loose-skinned flyer (see picture below), takes focus. We released her in the oak she was likely "flying" to, and she scurried away.
Web photo of gliding N. flying Squirrel

First NSWO, a petite but mighty male. Photo by Ken Sobon
Our first of the year saw-whet was a boy! In all years, our male capture is very low, likely because they stay on breeding territory if winter conditions are fair. But this youngster was hatched only this year, so must have left his natal site (unless he was hatched near the Reserve!). Thank you volunteers Ken Sobon, Julie Newman and Julie Shaw for the fun opening night!