We semi-officially ended our season with 52 owls banded. This ranks as the third lowest total in our 15 years of banding saw-whets. The next-to-last owl was one of the two males that we caught this year and the smallest bird of the year. We don’t catch many males and their small size is almost shocking when we finally have one in our hands. We may leave some nets up at Highland Retreat to occasionally check on whether we have some saw-whets as winter residents.
Conditions look good for migration tonight, Tuesday, December 8, so we will open the nets again to see what is flying. Probably our last night for this year.
There appears to be a pretty high chance of rain early in the evening on Monday night, so I am going to wait until Tuesday for the next opening … probably the last.
Pretty much the same environmental conditions as Friday night but the results were strikingly different. We caught only one owl and she was one that we had banded last week. She had gained about 4 gm since that time … which is always encouraging to me. Abby and Brittany noted that the woods were much quieter that the night before. We may have exhausted the little surge of owls that followed the cold front passage earlier in the week.
I am not planning to out to Highland tonight but may give it at least one more shot on Monday or Tuesday night.
It’s December 4. Christmas music and lights are appearing everywhere and we’re catching unbanded owls. It must be a function of global warming? At any rate we caught and banded 5 saw-whets last night and re-trapped an owl we had banded about two week ago. That ranks as one of the best nights of this slow season.
So we will try again tonight, Saturday, December 5. Weather conditions look to be almost ideal: cold, clear, calm, and a crescent moon that will rise long after we head home. We will see whether this mini-surge in migration continues.
I almost forgot about the RBC meeting tonight. One of our student banders will be talking about her summer work banding terns on an island off the coast of Connecticut. (The predicted winds seem to be a little strong for banding tonight anyway.) Join us in Strite Auditorium at VMRC tonight. Strite Auditorium is on the 2nd floor of Crestwood at VMRC.
We will try again tomorrow night.
It appears that the rain will end this afternoon but will still be north and east of us. I think that tomorrow night looks like propitious weather for migration for a change. I think that I will try tomorrow night to see if there is a late push or whether our migration year is over.