Into The Dark (cont.)

The first night was a "dud."  Determined to be far too windy making for poor conditions for the mission, we were invited back Sunday night, which foresaw much more favorable weather conditions.  Besides because of Daylight Savings Time, we started earlier.  It was quite dark when we met at 6 pm and forming a caravan once again, we headed out to the field.  Like our leader, I had a "good feeling" about our chances of capturing and banding...Saw-Whet Owls.

Once lured in by the male's call and entangled in the bird netting, the bird is removed and placed in a soft cloth, drawstring bag.  Carried back to the "station," the bird is placed upside down in this small canister and weighed (deducting the weight of the can).  Weight and size determines the sex as females are a bit larger. 

Then the wing length chord is measured both when outstretched and folded.  All data is recorded including the Federal band number to be placed on the owl.

Now, it's "all lights out" as the final step is performed.  Shining a ultra violet light (like the one used on CSI at a crime scene) on the underside of the owl's wing reveals the most beautiful iridescent fluorescence!!  

The use of a UV light causes porphyrin pigments in the feathers of the Saw-Whet to fluoresce distinguishing multiple generations of flight feathers.  In other words, it determines the age of the owl.  

It was determined that the two Saw-Whets captured our first hour were females born this year.  

Weighing 87 grams (3 oz) and 102 grams (3.6 oz) respectively, when released they flew off into the dark.

just seeing, saying, and sharing...

Into The Dark

with you and those at

The Bird D'Pot
Wild Bird Wednesday
Natures Notes
Wednesday Around The World


eileeninmd said…

That is a fun event, catching and banding these cute owls. Love the photos.
Enjoy your day and week ahead.
Ann said…
How fun and interesting.
Awwww... I would have never guessed, JP! How fun and educational too! Thank you for sharing! Love, Andrea xoxo
This is so incredibly interesting, AND very exciting, just as a reader. Owls have always fascinated me. And I know I'm going to sound like a child, but I would love to cup those little babies in my hands and smell them! I've hand fed and raised quite a few birds.

So, my question is, once you set them free again, do they fly back to the same place they were originally found?

I have to applaud you JP. What you are doing is beyond my wildest dreams, yet something I might be doing if I had realized my dreams long ago. Maybe it's time to focus on the next chapter.

Jane x

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