Monday, November 17, 2014

Hawk Ridge Banding Report 1-15 November, 2014

Passerine Banding Report

There was no formal passerine banding conducted during the period. However, two Northern Shrikes and a Pileated Woodpecker were banded on the 2 November at the Hawk Ridge station.

Northern Shrike at Hawk Ridge (Frank Nicoletti)

Owl Banding Report

Another fall owl banding season has flown by.  The last official night of banding was the night of November 9-10, ending just hours before the first snow began to fall from one of the biggest November snowstorms in history.  Eleven owls were captured on this final night of the season, with 9 saw-whets and 2 long-eareds.  This brings the November total to 56 saw-whets: 47 hatch year, 3 second year, 5 after second year, and 1 unknown age.  The biggest night for saw-whets in November was the first of the month with 16 birds.  November 2, 5, and 9 all tied for the second biggest night with 9 saw-whets each night. 

As the season progressed, the percentage of hatch year saw-whets grew at the expense of the overall adult percentages.  The table below shows the monthly percentages of each age class throughout the banding season from mid-September to mid-November. 
Percent of total







The final Northern Saw-whet Owl of the season. (Madison McConnell)
Throughout the fall season, a total of 937 saw-whets, 30 long-eared owls, and 4 barred owls were banded at the main owl blind on Hawk Ridge.  Data was also collected on a total of 42 foreign recapture saw-whets (ignore the number from the last post!) and 16 local recaptures.  These numbers are comparable to last year’s season totals, and about half of the season total in 2012.  Consistent with the saw-whet irruption “cycles”, this data shows several low years between each (approx.) fourth year boom. 
Two hatch-year Northern Saw-whet Owls (Madison McConnell) 
Of the 30 long-eared owls banded this season, 11 (37%) were HY, 0 (0%) SY, 13 (43%) ASY, 5 (17% AHY), and 1 (3%) unknown age.  After nearly two weeks of only capturing adult long-eareds, the sub-adult dry spell ended on the final night with the capture of the final long-eared of the season—a HY bird. 
The two last LEOWs of the season show the variation in the under-wing coloration in LEOWs.  With more research, this could be used to help determine sex in LEOWs. (Steve Kolbe)  
The long-eared push did not happen as anticipated this year, ending the season with about one third of last year’s total.  Because so little is known about their migration, it’s unclear what this means about the long-eared movement this fall.  It is possible that a late push could still occur after the station is closed. 

This fall’s owl banding season underscores the importance of long-term datasets—like those being collected at Hawk Ridge—that will be the key to better understanding owl migration and conservation.  It’s been a great fall with all the people and birds at Hawk Ridge!

Report by Madison McConnell, Owl Bander

Hawk Banding Report
The hawk banding will continue until the end of November mainly from just the Hawk Ridge station now that the two other banding sites have shut down for the season. Moose Valley was covered by Chris Neri and Nova Mackentley until the 11th.

A total of 54 hawks were banded during the period and include the following: Northern Harrier-3, Sharp-shinned Hawk-3, Northern Goshawk-26, Red-tailed Hawk-15, Rough-legged Hawk-11.
Second-year female Northern Harrier (Frank Nicoletti)
Second-year male Northern Harrier (Miranda Durbin)

Second-year female Northern Goshawk (Frank Nicoletti)

Hatch-year female Northern Goshawk (Kate Nicoletti)
Frank Nicoletti
Banding Director

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