Monthly Archives: November 2018

Two more saw-whets and a Barred Owl

When EMU student and Mathias resident, Bekka, arrived she showed me a photo of a Barred Owl that she had taken and  then this happened.



A Barred Owl closed our nets for the evening but not before we banded one more new saw-whet and re-trapped another banded saw-whet.  The banded bird turned out to have been originally banded in St. Ignace, Michigan on Mackinac Island.  This is one of the most western stations that we have ever had a banding record exchange with.  It was banded in 2016 but they aged the bird as 2+ years old at that time; so last night it was at least four-years-old.  We caught a lot of HY (hatch-year = young birds) this year but we also had a good group of rather old birds to report.

After we caught the Barred Owl and the EMU group left, I went up to close the nets and found the two saw-whets mentioned above.  I think that we will not open the nets tonight in order to allow the Barred Owl to figure out some other place to go for supper.  I will be gone next week so I am sure when/if the station will open again this year.  A full report for the year will appear at this site in the near future.


Next banding date … ?  Check back next week








No banding tonight, Tuesday, 27 November

The winds predicted for this evening are too strong for the safety of the owls.  Although it looks like the winds weren’t as strong as they predicted last night, I am assuming that the forecasts are closer to correct than last evening.  At any rate the predictions are for higher winds than last night.


Tonight – closed, due to unacceptably high winds

Wednesday night – open

Thursday – probably open

Clair Mellinger


More owls banded last night; closed tonight, Monday, 26 November 2018

We banded three more owls last night and caught an “old” bird banded at an as-yet-unidentified location.  We had 6 visitors so the owls didn’t make any headway last night toward a winning season.

Clair and Zig.jpg

Photo by Ben Spory … who somehow also managed to be in the photo!


We will be closed tonight because of predicted strong wind and tomorrow night, Tuesday, looks worse than tonight.  Check back later.

Wednesday night might be our next best chance to open.

No owls last night, Friday

We were open last night for about 3.5 hours but closed after catching and hearing nothing … except an Eastern Screech-owl, which was calling when I first arrived.  There a lot of factors that could be working against our catching owls at the moment … not least of which is the weather.  Winds are from the south and today, of course, it is raining.  It looks like the rain will end here around 4 PM but the weather system is moving north so it will still be raining north of us, even after that time.  I don’t think that I will open tonight unless the “storm” moves a lot faster than expected.  Right now it looks like we can make another try on Sunday night.


Still no new photos so I thought I would feature an Eastern Screech-owl which we caught in 2016 … since it was the only owl I saw or heard last night.


Closed tonight, Saturday, 24 November

Probably open on Sunday night.  Check again tomorrow.

We’ll give it a try tonight, Friday, 23 November

I think that we may have missed the best nights this week because of misleading wind projections but we will hope for the best tonight.  They are again predicting winds around 5-6 mph, which is marginal, and also from the south, which is also not desirable.  Despite the south winds, it will be cold.  Dress warmly.

I am not sure what the precipitation later tonight and tomorrow will bring, but it looks like it will clear off and be acceptable weather for banding Saturday night as well.  Check here again tomorrow.


More file photos.


Tonight we are giving it a try.

Saturday.  Probably.

Clair Mellinger

Closed again tonight, Wednesday, 21 November

We may have missed a chance to band last night.  I don’t think the winds that they predicted materialized.  But tonight they are predicting even stronger winds all night so I don’t think we will open again.  (If things get really quiet later in the afternoon, you can check with me again at  Thanksgiving night we will also be closed but Friday and Saturday appear to be favorable for banding.  Saturday night will feature an approaching storm which may mean that the owls will sit tight.  We’ll see.

Bridgett and owl (3).jpg

(I didn’t have any pix from last night.)



No banding tonight or tomorrow night, Thanksgiving.

Probably open on Friday and Saturday, November 23 and 24.

Five more saw-whets banded on Monday night, November 19

Chris Lehman, Eric King, Zig, and I banded five more owls and released them back into the cloudy night in the hopes that someone else will retrap these birds and gain some more valuable information about their migration routes and other intimate details of their life.

Capon Run made our life a little more interesting by spilling over the low-water bridge and forcing us to drive Zig’s car over the bridge every time we wanted to go up and check the nets.  Snow melt has caused the stream to rise every night since the snow and last night it was flowing rather vigorously over the bridge.

Mrs. and Mr. Saw-whet

We were fortunate enough to catch a female saw-whet and one of the relatively rare males that we catch each year for a comparison in their sizes.  Here’s a question for your classes, Brittany and Larry:  Which one is the female?  Chances are if you get that question correct, you can figure out which one is the male too.


Both tonight and tomorrow night, 20 and 21 November, are predicted to be very windy during the time we have our nets open.  If this forecast holds, we won’t open the nets either night.  Currently I am going to say that the nets will be closed tonight, but check again for tomorrow’s forecast.

Clair Mellinger