Northern Saw-whet Owl Banding with Wayne Laubscher

Last evening, Wayne Laubscher who has been banding Northern Saw-whet Owls on his property for quite a few years, invited Drew and I to come out if he ended up catching any owls. Around 9:30pm we got a call from Wayne saying he had just captured a hatch-year saw-whet, so we drove out there as fast as we could and were able to admire the little owl for a few minutes, before releasing it. Two net-checks later, we captured two owls at once! One was a second year bird and the other was another hatch year. It was great to be able to actually see a saw-whet, since I haven’t seen one since last fall banding season, even though Anna and I heard quite a few this summer in Idaho.

Northern Saw-whet Owl - a hatch year bird (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Under a UV light, the perforin in newly-grown feathers glows bright pink. Older feathers have faded perforin that doesn’t show up under UV. This bird, which is a hatch year bird, has all new and fresh feathers, so all the feather flow pink. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

This bird is an after second year individual, which has two blocks of older feathers which have faded perforin that doesn’t show up under UV and then has blocks of newer feather that do show up as bright pink. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)