“Banders brace for post-storm surge in owls”
To many, the severe weather may seem like another unfortunate Halloween weather prank, but to those studying northern saw-whet owls, Mother Nature is giving something of a bonus to an already active year.
A bad storm this time of year delays saw-whet owl migration, but when the weather lets up, scientists may have more birds than they can handle.
“We’ve had some of our biggest nights after a long series of weather delays,” bird bander Strickland Wheelock explained.
Mr. Wheelock runs the Uxbridge owl banding station out of his home. For the past decade his group has been catching northern saw-whet owls on their migration south, inspecting them, banding them and sending them back on their way. This year is a good year that may soon get better.
Northern saw-whet owls are tiny docile owls that migrate each fall from as far north as northern Ontario south into Maryland and Virginia. Officials believe there are between 100,000 and 300,000 in the United States and Canada.