I drove out to Highland Retreat last night expecting to band some migrating owls but ran into migrating rain showers, including a downpour near Bergton. I waited awhile but the light rain and the threat of more showers convinced me to go home again without opening the nets.
Tonight, Monday, October 31, the weather appears to be favorable … but then again … that’s what I thought last night. We’ll see.
Zig and I banded 13 new owls last night bringing our season total to 22 new owls banded. This is almost half of the total number that we banded last year, so I think it is safe to say that we will exceed last year’s totals. It isn’t even November 1 yet.
The schedule for banding is this:
Tonight, Saturday 29 October, we are closed. There are other folks using the Tabernacle facilities. After that … the weather looks favorable so we will probably be banding every night after tonight for the next week or so. Please check back here on a daily basis to make certain we will be open. There are groups scheduled to visit on November 3,4,5,7,11, and 13.
The Project Owlnet leaders have made some suggestions to reduce the stress on and improve the safety of the owls. It appears that we may have fairly large numbers of birds going through our area at times this year. I am probably going to sharply restrict the number of people going to the nets this year in order to minimize the stress on the birds (and the banders) at the nets. Our first priority for the project is to collect as much data that we can in the safest possible manner. We will appreciate your cooperation.
The owls are coming. Reports from more northern stations indicate that this might be a big year for the saw-whets. That’s good news for the owls because all our data leads us to believe that big migration numbers largely result from a good summer of reproduction.
Our banding station will probably open on November 1. Already a number of groups have reserved dates to visit the banding station. We will try to work with as many visitors as possible but with the (hopefully) increased number of birds we may have to limit the number of persons or the number of nights that we work with visitors. One of the first restrictions may be limiting the number of persons going to the nets. We will make that judgement when we see how many owls and how many visitors we have.
As you did last year, please check this website for information about when the station will be open/closed and updates about the research. Thank you.