Thursday, April 7, 2011

Northern Saw-whet Owl

The March/April issue of Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Magazine, published by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, featured a Northern saw-whet owl who was a patient at The Raptor Center. The bird was successfully released this past weekend at a local nature center. The site was chosen because the habitat is suitable for the bird to find prey in the short time it is here before migrating to its more northern breeding grounds If you look closely, you can see the metal band on the bird’s leg – this will not harm the bird or impede its movements. It instead will allow us to learn more about the bird if it is ever found or seen again, since we know something about its history already! Banding birds can tell us about dispersal and migration, life span, survival and productivity, population studies and many other things. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds of North America online says, “Although the Northern Saw-whet Owl is one of the most common owls in forested habitats across southern Canada and the northern United States, much remains to be learned about its populations, distribution and movements, behavior, and breeding biology.”

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