October 22nd – 19 Saw-whets!! [The 1st “Catching Up” Post – The Rest Tomorrow]

The results of one net check.

Nancy had a big night catching a record 19 Northern Saw-whet Owls! Marg and I and Kellie and Devin were around for the first 6 but the other 13 were caught after everyone had left. On one round she had 7 to contend with. It was an ideal night for them. During the day, the wind had a slight northerly component but then stopped at dark. There was very little cloud so the light from the half moon lit up the meadow and dappled the forest floor. The sound of the lure `tape`carried quite a distance in the existing conditions.

The very large ear opening of a Saw-whet Owl.

It was interesting to examine the birds up close. They have enormous ears – as you would expect given that they use them to hunt with at night and need to be able to zone in on the slightest noise that their prey might make. Also, their ears are slightly offset making this task easier.

Nancy catching up after a long night.

Needless to say, Nancy didn`t get to bed (actually, to the cot in the banding lab) until after 4:00 AM for some much needed shut-eye. The total of 55 banded to date equals last year`s total – with 3+ more weeks to go (owl banding will go up until November 11th).

The four returned to the wild.

Kellie banding her first owl.

Kellie with partner Devin….and friends.

We had a big first round this morning but catching tapered off quickly as soon as the sun got up. It was hard to know why given that there seemed to be lots of birds around. Pine Siskins continue to hit the feeders hard but the other northern finch that we were seeing (Purple Finch) wasn`t apparent today.

Banded 105:
19 Northern Saw-whet Owls
8 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Brown Creeper
4 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
7 Hermit Thrushes
1 Myrtle Warbler
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Fox Sparrow
6 Song Sparrows
9 Swamp Sparrows
11 White-throated Sparrows
3 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
11 Dark-eyed Juncos
16 Pine Siskins
6 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 43 spp.
Fall Banding Total: 4,212
Season-to-Date Banding Total: 6,797

Photo Gallery:

Osprey on perch. -B. Fotheringham

Female Pine Siskin. -B. Fotheringham

Two differnt colour ‘morphs’ of the White-throated Sparrow. -B. Fotheringham

Osprey taking flight. -B. Fotheringham


2 thoughts on “October 22nd – 19 Saw-whets!! [The 1st “Catching Up” Post – The Rest Tomorrow]

  1. Hi there. Well you certainly out did my luck, 19 Saw-Whet Owls! My oh My I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and this past Friday, my wife and I came upon an adult Saw-Whet Owl out in the bush. This was the first time as birders that we had ever seen a Saw-Whet Owl. Fortunately, we had our camera with us and got some good pictures and video. We have posted them for anyone interested at: http://frametoframe.ca/photo-essay-northern-saw-whet-owl-sighting

  2. Thanks again to you and Nancy for such an amazing night! And we weren’t even there for the ‘big’ net round! Well done! I hope that Nancy’s been able to catch up on sleep by now…

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