The Fall of 2015 was not noted for its Northern Saw-whet Owl catch…..we did 52 (42 at Ruthven and 10 at Taquanya), an “average” year. Two female owls banded within 5 days of each other – on the 17th and 22nd of October- took off into the night and were recovered 5 days apart this Fall – November 1st and 6th. But…..they were over a thousand kilometers apart!! The owl on the 17th, a young (or HY-Hatch Year) bird was recovered near Burkittsville, Frederick County, Maryland. This is about 430 kilometers SE of Ruthven and 85 km. W of Baltimore.
The other, an older (ASY-After Second Year) female was recovered near Cedar Grove, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin on the West side of Lake Michigan…1300 km W of Ruthven.
These two birds were over 1500 km apart! Wouldn’t you love to know their personal trajectories after they left Ruthven’s banding lab in 2015!? I’m assuming that they spent the Winter of 2105/2016 in the mid/northern U.S. and returned to northern Ontario to breed in the Summer of 2016. But where were they, and how did they get there? What happened that they would end up so very far apart?
In this pursuit you generate more questions than answers.
And there’s more good news: both birds are still alive. They were caught and released at banding operations in those areas of capture.
[Note: the pictures are by Bob Fotheringham…..I think.]