Owling season ends; Christmas season begins?

It looks like the banding season may be over.  Charles or I may get out a time or two to check on late comers and those owls that will hang around Highland Retreat for the winter.  However, I think that I will declare the season ended and calculate the totals for this year.

On Thursday night one of the founders of Project Owlnet, Dave Brinker, will be speaking at the Rockingham Bird Club monthly meeting.  Dave is currently an ecologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  The meeting will be at VMRC as usual, but in Strite Hall (not Detwiler Auditorium, our regular meeting place).  It should be a very informative meeting.

I will try to post the season totals here soon for any of you who are interested in the details for the year.

One new owl, one re-trap

Last night I banded one new saw-whet and made the acquaintance of 1124-02357 for the third time!  She was first banded on November 4 and re-encountered on November 19, and now again on 29 November.  This is not that unusual but provides another data-point for the answer that I usually give to the question, “Where do these go from here?” For some of the owls the answer is, “Nowhere.”

Eight of the last 16 birds that we have caught have been re-traps of birds that we have banded earlier this year. This is a normal feature usually indicating the end of the migration period.

The other saw-whet we caught was our fifth HY (hatch-year) bird of the year.  This is an extremely low number, amounting to about 12 percent of the total number of birds banded. This percentage varies a good bit but can go as high as 60%.  “We” in this report refers to Conrad Brenneman and I.  Conrad is a “nephew-in-law” (if there is such a person) from Indiana, who is visiting relatives here over the holiday.

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Tonight and tomorrow night look rainy and Monday night has predicted winds that are too high for banding.  It is possible that we will open the nets sometime next week again, but for “all practical purposes” we have reached the end of the banding season for this year.  I will try to post a summary of the banding totals here in a short while.

Monday, November 26 – No new owls, but one re-capture

The Yoder family came up last Thursday night but no owls showed up.  Last night they came again and stayed until the last net check.  Their persistence was rewarded by one owl … an owl that we had banded on November 19.  This pattern of capture – the few owls caught are re-captures – usually suggests that we are at the end of the season.  However, this year it has been the pattern for the entire so maybe it means nothing.

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Mira and Wayne watch Chris do the actual banding

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Jill and saw-whet 1124-02379

 

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Wednesday, 27 November – due to uncommonly high winds.

Thursday, 28 November – closed for Thanksgiving

Friday, 29 November – probably open; check here again tomorrow or Friday morning

Saturday and Sunday, 30,31 November – closed due to bad weather

We may band on one or two nights week, but the migration season is probably over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three more saw-whets

We added three more saw-whets to our list of owl guests and two more human visitors.  Our total for the month/season is now near 40 but this year will remain one of the years with the fewest birds banded.

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Roy and Ron seem to find this process more amusing than Ms Saw-whet?

The schedule for the remainder of the season remains pretty much the same:

Tonight, Tuesday, 26 November 2019 looks good.

Wednesday – probably closed; strong winds predicted all night 

Thursday = like the Post Offices banks, etc. we will be closed for Thanksgiving 

Friday – probably open 

Saturday – closed – rain

One visitor, one owl

We banded one more saw-whet last night and added one more visitor to our list. It was a pretty quiet evening.  The second-half surge -such as it was – seems to have stalled.  We will see if it can be revived this evening.

november 24 owl

The schedule:

Monday and Tuesday – Open; weather looks good

Wednesday – probably closed; strong winds predicted all night (too strong to open the nets probably; but your deck chairs and roof will probably be OK)

Thursday = like the Post Offices banks, etc. we will be closed for Thanksgiving 

Friday – probably open 

Saturday – closed – rain

 

No owls at all last night

We banded later than usual but still caught no owls.  Jake thought he may have heard a Barred Owl huffing around net #5 as we closed up; so it may be that saw-whets were being scared off during the evening.  Other conditions were great and the stars were brilliant.  So the EMU Conservation Ecology class got to see the Milky Way but no saw-whets … or meteors that I heard about.  However, a dark night in the woods beats a well-lit night in the library?  Hope so.

The rain will end before dark tonight but I think that the remanents of this storm will still be lingering north of us, so I think that we will NOT open tonight or tomorrow, Saturday, night.  Beyond that the weather looks good for Sunday and on into next week.