Saw-whet Owl monitoring

Each fall we band Northern Saw-whet Owls as part of a collaborative effort to learn more about the movements and population trends of these secretive, nocturnal birds.  

We chose to open nets only on nights with relatively cold temperatures and north winds to maximize our capture rates.  On nights when conditions are suitable, we band for four hours per night, starting at sunset, using a single, x-shaped array of four mist nets centered on an audio lure.  Curious owls come down from the sky during migration and when we are lucky some of these owls end up in our nets.  

Once captured, we band each owl and collect data on age, sex, body condition and molt before releasing them back into the night sky.

Saw-whet Owls are pure magic: they’re cute and fierce, fluffy and profound.  They even glow in the dark (fluoresce under UV).  Bringing people out for owl banding is one of our favorite things to do—these little owls have a big impact on people who get to see them.  

Our Owl season starts in mid-October and runs through early November.  Contact us if you would like to participate.