In 2001 I began banding migrating Northern Saw-whet Owls at Highland Retreat Camp during the month of November. This banding station is a part of a larger research effort called Project Owlnet. Project Owlnet now includes over 100 banding stations from Alabama to Ontario and New Brunswick to British Columbia and Washington. That Northern Saw-whet Owls migrate in large numbers has only been documented within the past 30 years. The aim of our research is to learn about and document this movement of saw-whets from their more northern breeding grounds to their more southern wintering areas. The exact extent of their southern wintering grounds has not been precisely defined and the distribution of saw-whets within the wintering area is even more vague. By banding and recapturing those banded birds we are learning much valuable data about their life cycle and population dynamics.
Since 2001, Charles Ziegenfus and I have banded over 2000 saw-whets, and re-captured over 140 owls that had already been banded. In addition, many of the owls that we have banded have been re-captured at stations throughout eastern North America including Quebec, Ontario, most all of the New England states, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, other stations in Virginia, and Georgia
We also use this project as a way teach about the basic biology and ecology of birds, especially owls, and the importance of preserving and conserving them and their world. To this end we welcome visitors to the site when it does not conflict with our basic research activities and goals.
I use this blog is to keep interested persons apprised of our activities, such as results and banding schedules.