What's Your Nature?

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Saw-whet owl banding

Posted by Erika Barthelmess,
North Country explorer from Canton, NY
October 22, 2015

Students in my Vertebrate Natural History class and I had a great visit last night with Mark Manske, owner of Adirondack Raptors, helping him net and band saw-whet owls. Mark has both state and federal permits, plus years of experience in the safe, proper ways to work with raptors. On this project, he runs a saw-whet owl banding station, working to band the owls during their fall migration. These are the smallest owls in the northeast, weighing in at about 90 grams (=3 fat mice). They prey on deer mice and are preyed upon by larger owls, among other things. The owls are lured to mist nets, specially designed for the safe capture of birds, by a recording of their courtship song. Mark, who is retired biology teacher, works hard to engage young people - last night, he had a crew of helpers from Paul Smiths College and SUNY Canton, plus our crew from SLU. This was a great way to discover more about who is lurking in our woods. One of the owls was a recapture of an owl banded in Ontario. When we weren't working with owls, we got to visit with one another, Mark's 2 dogs, and his juvenile Eurasian Eagle Owl. Thanks Mark for including us!


Justin Dalaba

Very cool, owls are my favorite raptors!


Krista Sonia