Tuesday, November 22, 2016


We had another great season with 57 new NSWO and 8 same season recaptures. The  owls arrived steadily and we only dipped one night, so 17 out of 18 nights of effort, we banded owls. There were two peak migration nights on November 1 (8 owls and 1 recapture) and November 16 (8 new owls!).
A trio of owls could indicate family members flying together.
On these peak nights we typically capture multiple owls in one run and there is current DNA research to determine if these may be siblings or family members migrating together. The eight same season recaps is our record for recaptures in one season. They stayed on the property between 6 days and 26 days and may continue to winter on the Reserve. Their overlapping and continued presence and good body weight indicates a healthy prey base (rodents) for so many owls.This year we had several chunky owls with a good amount of fat and weights over 100 grams! Fat, which can be seen as a yellow layer under the skin, is an important fuel for migration and cold winter nights.
This individual has 3-4 generations of feathers, noted by the different colors in the
blocks of feathers; she is over 3 years old
We have also noted that the older birds tend to migrate later (we capture them later in the season), probably because the young of the year disperse early from their natal area. On our last banding night we banded this older female with several generations of feathers. These birds can be challenging to age, but it is great to see that some owls survive seasons of migration and breeding.

Thank you volunteers Julie Woodruff, Ken Sobon, Julie Newman, Wyatt Hersey, Erika Iacona, Maureen Morales and Kim Armstrong, for another great season of owl monitoring, season 12!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment