My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

The Banding [part 2]

Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owls amazing face pattern

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).

VHF Transmitter VHF Transmitter on the Bird
The VHF Transmitter

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.

ASY SEOW uppertail
Tail Feathers of the Short-eared Owl

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.

Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl “just before the release”


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27 responses

  1. Oh he is beautiful, so fierce and fragile all at the same time:)

    11 February 2008 at 5:11 pm

  2. Marg

    Fabulous-love all the shots-and information and PHOTOS!

    11 February 2008 at 5:43 pm

  3. This is something I’ve always wanted to take part in and I probably will in the years to come. What an exhilarating experience it must be and I don’t imagine it would be the type of task that gets boring after a while 🙂 I’m sure the excitement increases each year!

    Thanks for sharing the photos and the experience!

    11 February 2008 at 5:59 pm

  4. Chuck Rosenburg

    Great write-up, Tom! Thanks for getting the word out there about the DEC’s study of this NYS endangered species. Looking forward to having you come up to help again (if you can afford the time) – you’re our lucky charm! And it was assuring to have an experienced owl bander covering our northern front.

    11 February 2008 at 6:43 pm

  5. What a cool process. That is awesome the owls can be tracked for a while! How interesting!! I *love* your photos. What fun!

    11 February 2008 at 7:03 pm

  6. Oooh, I love that top photo. What a cutie! And so tiny when you see the owl held in the bander’s hands.

    11 February 2008 at 7:10 pm

  7. Kaz

    Beautiful shot Tom!
    -Kaz

    11 February 2008 at 7:20 pm

  8. Lisa at Greenbow

    Gosh Mon@rch that little Owl looks small in your hands. They look much larger on the wing or sitting in a tree.

    11 February 2008 at 7:31 pm

  9. Tom, this is a great story. The technology boggles my brain but I love it anyway. What a beautiful bird. Like I have said too many times, I envy what you do.

    Great job! Great blog.

    11 February 2008 at 9:41 pm

  10. What a great story! I thoroughly enjoyed reading both your stories. The pictures were fascinating, too!

    11 February 2008 at 10:14 pm

  11. @ Bookbabie – thanks and welcome to the site!
    @ Marg – thanks and I always enjoy your visits!
    @ Pinar – for sure look for a local bander in your area! It is great seeing these birds for sure! Thanks
    @ Chuck – thanks and it is an honor being able to help! It isn’t luck, you guys are just getting things done now! Shouldn’t be too long before you get more owls!
    @ Pam – thanks and it is a great way of studying these guys!
    @ Wren – thanks and it’s my fave for sure!
    @ Kaz – thanks
    @ Lisa – they are so much smaller than I had first expected them to be! Thanks
    @ Mary – thanks and isn’t crazy what they can do now days? Of course it cost money to do!
    @ Rondi – thanks and I always enjoy sharing them with everyone!

    11 February 2008 at 10:19 pm

  12. I love your banding adventures!!!! I learn so much from your trips. The pictures are amazing especially the big owl face!
    Thanks!
    🙂

    11 February 2008 at 10:53 pm

  13. Owls are just such beautiful, interesting birds. That would be neat to be able to follow them via computer. Now only if we could do that to our little monarch butterflies we raise. Your pictures are spectacular, as always.

    11 February 2008 at 11:33 pm

  14. I had one land on the hood of my car right next to me once, they really respond to squeaking like a mouse!

    I used to have long-eareds flying in the same area as well.

    12 February 2008 at 5:37 am

  15. Just look at those beautifully, intense eyes! I’ve been hearing about owl sightings near my house this week, but I have yet to see it myself. I keep trying! Thanks for this interesting post.

    12 February 2008 at 9:16 am

  16. I love your owl banding posts. What wonderful birds!

    12 February 2008 at 9:30 am

  17. What an amazing experience – your stories are very inspirational and make me realize that I don’t spend enough time in the natural areas in and around the city!

    12 February 2008 at 9:57 am

  18. @ Chicago – thanks and I love them also! 🙂 Thanks and very much enjoy!
    @ Linda – thanks and I still am not 100% sure how all that works! Although, would be hard to do with there size! Sometimes I wonder if the stickers are too much for them!
    @ John – Yeah, that must have been fun!
    @ Sandpiper – thanks and hope you get to see one! Anytime!
    @ threecollie – thanks and they are for sure!
    @ sherri – it sure was and even I don’t spend enough time out in nature! I think everyone of us (especially kids) need to work on improving our time outside!

    12 February 2008 at 12:05 pm

  19. winterwoman

    Oh, gosh… I didn’t realize they used two different types of transmitters!

    12 February 2008 at 3:21 pm

  20. lvn600

    Beautiful birds! I am surprised at how small they are by looking at the last picture. The top photo looks like me after having about 4 cups of coffee.

    12 February 2008 at 6:42 pm

  21. @ Jen, nope they only used the VHF kind but will be using the Satellite kind with the next bird.
    @ Lvn – thanks and they are much smaller than I expected also! Thanks and only 4 cups! LOL

    12 February 2008 at 10:23 pm

  22. What a magnificent bird — and what great photos of it, too. Lucky you to have had an opportunity like this.

    13 February 2008 at 1:03 am

  23. First, your photos are amazing – second… it is 11:45 pm pst and all I want to do (besides sleep) is pour through all your posts on owls. Okay a sleepy comment it is – I am amazed. I think you should write a book; I don’t have a lap top so a book would be a much easier read. Fabulous post – honestly your work is just amazing and I just love looking over your shoulder! thank you for sharing this with us!

    13 February 2008 at 2:50 am

  24. @ Bobbie – thanks and it was a great opportunity for sure!
    @ Aullori – thanks and you can go through them all! Just use my tag’s on my owl studies site! Everyone is welcome while I am out doing owls!

    14 February 2008 at 12:17 pm

  25. Wow! Amazing photo! We just saw a couple of different types of owls from a man who does animal rescues. They are beautiful creatures…

    14 February 2008 at 6:21 pm

  26. Mel

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and pictures! I’m slowly learning on my own, and your posts help me do so!
    Greetings from Perú!

    14 February 2008 at 6:45 pm

  27. @ Bellablue – thanks for your kind words and glad to have you visit my site! Your photography is always amazing! They are very beautiful creatures!
    @ Mel – thanks and glad to have helped! Keep up the great work!

    15 February 2008 at 5:35 pm

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