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


My Irruption Northern Saw-whet Owl Year

Northern  Saw-whet Owl
First Northern Saw-whet Owl of the Season.

This year the Allegany State Park (Northern Saw-whet Owl) banding station was open for 28 nights and captured 83 different individuals with 90 total NSWO captures. We did not capture the hundreds of owls like the big migration sites but this stations numbers this season was significantly better than my previous three years of banding combined. The last two weeks in November resulted in very bad weather conditions (lake effect, strong winds and rain) which considerably reduced the number of net hours that the station typically operates. (more…)


Allegany by Moonlight

Administration Building At Night
The Administration Building.

You keep asking if my Owl season is over! The answer is No but . . . I have run into many reasons for needing to keep the station closed for the past two weeks. Which include fog, rain, high wind, snow, lake effect and tonight temps being around 20 degree F. If I was open this evening . . . . I would be battling the bright moon that is out (see photos). As much as I miss catching and banding these fluff balls . . . . their safety is our first priority. Maybe even with the bright moon tomorrow . . I can open some nets?? Till then I will be trying to get out to take some new pictures!

Trying to Break 80

Snow for Mary
Snow for Mary

Yesterday evening we had 6 more visitors (people) at the Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station here in Allegany State Park. I was lucky to have Young Naturalist J here to help with banding the 5 owls we captured and he will continue to be around for tonight’s banding (if the weather allows). (more…)

Understanding the bird’s wing!

Osprey in flight (from March 2007)

Birds use the ability to fly for finding food, escaping from predators and even migrating to areas that can better support them when there are fewer resources available. Obviously their feathers are not permanent to their body and they need to replace their older (worn) feathers with new (sturdy) feathers. The molting (loosing and growing new feathers) patterns on the wing of the bird can help us banders understand the age of the bird (well sometimes). (more…)

Don’t Forget to Turns Your Clocks Back!

Photo by Young Naturalist J.

We had another busy night at the Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station here in Allegany State Park. We had a fellow birdbander and 3 others from the Allegheny National Forest visit us this evening. They were able to see 2 of our Saw-whet Owls being banded and then be released (before heading home). We also had Sarah from Jamestown Audubon visit for most of the evening (and she was able to see 4 of the birds)! I tried to convince her to stay later but she needed to head home. I know that she made the right decision since we did not catch anything again until the wee hours of the night. It has been wonderful with so many visitors visiting the banding station this week. (more…)

Weekend Visitors

Saw-whet banding
Young Naturalist J glad to be banding again!!

We had more visitors at the Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station this evening than owls! I need to high-five Grace 🙂 for helping locate our 70th bird of the season (in the mist net) and then allowing me to barrow a book that I need to read. Mike and Terry decided to head home early after banding our first 2 fluff balls (thanks for visiting). Grace left only minutes before we captured our 3rd bird and then recaptured the 2nd bird again (The owl must be net happy). (more…)

Little Visitors

Kids smiling for moms picture!

I had some smiling little visitors at the Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station tonight. I expected a “big” night with North-West winds but was only able to banded 3 different individual owls. Not sure why the other evening I captured 4 individuals with southern winds?? I assume science will just keep us guessing with unexpected answers! At least our future birders were happy and of course they didn’t want to head home!! Dad promised they could come back again before the end of the season. (more…)