Northern Saw-whet Owl banding

Last night I did something very exciting - helping out with the Saw-whet Owl-Banding!

The project focuses on Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus), the smallest owl in eastern North America, and bands them every October during their winter migration down south. We set up mist nets at Trent's James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre and used playbacks to attract these curious birds. We check the nets every 30 minutes and start from sunset until midnight.

Yesterday we caught four owls in total and below are some photos from last night.

This girl was fine (most of the owls we caught were females), but she certainly didn't act like it.

Putting bands on their skinny but feathery legs.

So cute!

Using UV light to see the bloods in the feathers to estimate age. Not an useful technique for a color-blind.

Besides banding them and aging them, we also sex them (by comparing wing length and weight of the individual) and take some basic measurements.

After measuring them (usually takes about 5 minutes). We bring them outside and let them perch on a nearby branch.

There were also deer hanging around outside the cabins.

Almost like a cam-trap photo.

Sorry for the terrible photos, my camera is not very good at taking poor-lighting conditions. But I certainly had a great time and hope to go back again sometime this month.

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