The owls were pretty cooperative, and let the banders put the bands on their legs. This way, if they were caught again, they could tell it was the same owl. The banders had to tell the age of the owl for data, so they turned on an ultraviolet light and could tell that the bird was two years old from looking at the wings. We photographed the owls some, and then the banders took the owl back outside. They would soon be released back into the wild.After a little while, someone went to check the nets and came back with another Saw-whet Owl. We could not tell the gender of this bird, but could tell it was a one year old bird. We all photographed the owls and even got to hold them. After we held them, we went outside and saw the release of both owls. We took off the cover, and the owl sat on the table for a couple minutes before flying off. The second owl we had caught stayed on the table for a long time. We're not sure how long it stayed, because it was still on the table even when we left. We left the Highland Retreat banding station satisfied with the two owls we got to see. It was fun to see how the owls were banded. It was a successful trip to see Northern Saw-whet Owls!
by Ira Lianez