Tuesday March 11, 2013:  What an exciting night we had this evening!  Barb and I dutifully headed out to BBBO for our spring owl project.  We noted with dismay the soggy snow that barely camouflaged the puddles of water underneath, but we decided wet feet were just part of the job.  We opened our nets, and for the first 2 hours saw and heard nothing.  At hour 2.5, I went to check the nets and clearly heard a Saw-whet yipping in the trees behind the aerials.

At hour 3, Barb went to check the nets and I checked my email.  About three minutes after she left the building, Barb called me saying “I have two owls, no bags, and only two hands!”  I ran out to help, and we discovered that there were actually four  Saw-whets in our nets!  One pulled a little Houdini maneuver and escaped before we were able to secure it, but we safely extracted the other three and took them back to the station.

Barb banded the first owl (our first of the season, and her first ever) – a hefty girl weighing about 108g.  We aged her as an after-third year, meaning she hatched in 2011 or before.  Then, she went out to check the nets again while I banded the last two owls.  Both were third-year females, and both were smaller and lighter than the first.

Our first Saw-whet of the spring.  It was also Barb's first owl extraction, and banding!

Our first Saw-whet of the spring. It was also Barb’s first owl extraction, and banding!

We didn’t see or hear any other Saw-whets this evening, although we did recapture our first owl just as we were closing.  We also heard at least one Screech Owl calling.

We will not be banding Wednesday, and we are waiting to see what Thursday looks like.  Visitors are always welcome, but it is a good idea to call the station before you come out to make certain we are there.  If we don’t answer, try again in about 15 minutes just in case we are out at the nets.

Our third owl, looking fierce!

Our third owl, looking fierce!