We unfortunately do not have a whole lot to report in regard to the owl migration. The weather continues to limit our efforts and the owls have been slow when we have been able to open. The Northern Saw-whets have continued to be steady, but in very low numbers. We had decent success with Long-eared Owl (LEOW) at the start of their migration period, but it appears that they had a very poor breeding season last year. In spring the adults of many raptor species migrate a bit earlier than young birds, these are birds of sexual maturity that want to get up to the breeding grounds as early as possible to get the best breeding location they can. We often see this here with LEOW, with the early migration being mostly adults, and the number of young birds increasing later in their migration period. We experienced a decent migration of adult LEOW earlier this spring, but as the adults started winding down, we did not see the number of young birds start to increase. By the start of this month the adults had already slowed down considerably and the young simply never picked up, with 12 adult and just 8 young being banded so far this month. On the plus side, we are still catching some owls, we are off snowshoes and the mosquitoes haven’t started yet. We regularly remind ourselves that things could be much worse. Hopefully the little push of Saw-whets that we often get in late May will happen this year. Our season total now stands at 275 Saw-whets, two Boreals, 116 Long-eareds and five Barreds. We have also caught 25 previously banded Saw-whets.
We did have some non-owl excitement since our last post. We mentioned previously that we regularly catch American Woodcock in the owl nets, but despite Wilson’s Snipe being a regular presence we had never caught one in the spring. We were naturally thrilled to band our first this spring, plus we happened to catch a Woodcock on the same check allowing for a nice comparison. They are both such cools birds.
Chris Neri & Nova Mackentley