The Banding [part 2]
Yesterday’s post was about the excitement of catching these two Short-eared Owls . . . Today I will be writing about the banding process, transmitter and releasing the owls (and a few cool photos).
Photo by Jennifer of us aging the SEOW.
Chuck used a hood to calm the bird (basic falconry practice) and then vet wrap was placed around the talons to keep the bird from grabbing hold of the bander (that can really hurt). Once all the equipment is organized the bird is weighed, banded, aged, measured (wing/tail), genetic samples are collected and thoroughly processed as I would with songbirds. During the winter months we are unable to determine the sex of these birds but once the owls were weight . . . we found one to be significantly more in grams than the other owl (with an assumption we could have 1 male and 1 female).
The Short-eared Owls were then fitted with a VHF transmitter which took a little time in getting it safely placed on the bird. The owl will carry this transmitter on their back and designed to fall off the bird after the transmitters stitching wears. The birds are then tracked with a VHF receiver and followed throughout the winter months until they migrate back to their breeding grounds. The next owl captured will be fitted with a satellite transmitter (wish I could have seen that done) and then tracked via the computer. This is more convenient way to study these birds but very expensive because of the cost of satellite time.
The best part of the evening (well except the excitement of catching the owls) was watching the owls being released! In a matter of seconds they would just disappeared into the darkness of the night and we would have many wonderful memories of them! I would like to thank Chuck and his entire team for allowing us to join him in banding these owls. Then to Jennifer for putting up with me on the long drive up to the banding site.
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