October 19th – No Need To Overthink

Calleigh meets Saw-whet. -KAP

Sometimes we simply overthink things. We try to find explanations that are much more complicated than they need to be. Last night was a prime example. We travelled to Fern Hill’s Oakville campus to try for Northern Saw-whet Owls. We invited the school’s Young Ornithologists to come out – it didn’t take much convincing; everyone seems to love owls. Now last year we caught and banded 1 Owl. I would have been happy with that again this year. But instead we picked up 5 in the first 3 net rounds!! All at a time when the students could see and appreciate them.

Same owls……very different facial patterns. -KAP

I tried to figure out what made this such a good night. A number of variables run through one’s head: temperature, wind speed and direction, cloud cover, phase of the moon, ambient light and noise, net placements, audio lure placements. So many things to consider. But the answer was much simpler – mojo. Calleigh, a kindergarten student (but very keen bird person) was wearing her owl pyjamas (which she wouldn’t let her mother put on her earlier in the week, saving them for this special occasion) and she was carrying her special owl stuffie. Powerful mojo indeed. There you go, how could Mother Nature deny these efforts? You see….sometimes it’s a simple answer and it’s staring you right in the face.

Fern Hill Oakville’s YO’s with one of 5 Northern Saw-whet Owls we caught last night. -KAP

Walking Isabella through the banding of a Saw-whet Owl. -KAP

Meanwhile, today at Ruthven….we were fairly busy, not frenetically busy. The stiff SW winds were a big factor as they billowed many of the nets making them more visible and, when it continued to build, we decided to close somewhat early. But, we didn’t see the volume of birds that we were observing over the past few days. Another ‘pulse’ had moved through.

October 19th; Banded 66:
1 Eastern Phoebe
7 Golden-crowned Kinglets
12 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Hermit Thrushes
3 American Robins
2 Cedar Waxwings
8 Myrtle Warblers
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
5 White-throated Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
20 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 37 spp.

The Green Heron seems to have made Rick’s Rill its autumn home. -D. Bridel

Standoff! Green Heron vs Black Squirrel for the right-of-way. -D. Bridel


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