Yeah! I finally caught not just one but two fluff balls last night (8 October 2007)! I have had the Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station open here in Allegany State Park since the 30th of September and was starting to wonder “where are they”!! This isn’t my latest dates but it was very close to it! Back in 2004 when I first started banding Saw-whets . . . . I caught my first bird on the 9th of October and was my first night “ever” trying to catch any! Then in 2005 we caught our first one on the 3rd of October and last year (2006) we caught one on the 1st of October. It has been promising to know that other local (Western New Yorkers and North Western Pennsylvanian) Saw-wheters also have been behind in catching these guys.
The above radar images show that this isn’t your typical weather patterns for movement of these little guys heading south but I will not complain. Winds were coming from the west and NEXRAD did show some birds moving (but the radar was in the storm mode which isn’t that sensitive for viewing migration). I do feel that the past weeks southern winds and warm temperatures have bottled these cute little fluff balls up in Southern Ontario where Saw-whet Banders have been catching them in record numbers. I just need to wait a little while and the more birds the Ontario banders catch . . . . the more foreign recaptures that I will find in my nets.
FYI: If you were wondering, I caught a hatch year male and a second year female last night. Can’t wait to see what might show up tonight!