Canadian Geographic Photo Club - Night Migrant

Night Migrant

by Sheri Rypstra from Sidney CA on 03 Oct 2017

A wild Northern Saw-whet Owl being checked out by the head biologist at a bird banding session last night at Pedder Bay, BC. These owls have been monitored through bird banding by the Rocky Point Bird Observatory since 2002, and the site at Pedder Bay has been running for three years. At this sight, new volunteers are trained, and the public has an opportunity to observe for educational purposes. The fall banding session runs nightly from mid September to the end of October during the annual fall migration. Very little is known about these owls, especially with regards to their migration. Just last year, an owl that was banded at this site was found 18 days later in Boise, Idaho, 633 miles away. That distance is a straight line measurement, but the owls don't fly a strait line. They are nervous about crossing large bodies of water, and being a social owl, they will form into flocks when they can't avoid it. The migration across the ocean between Vancouver Island and mainland America is accomplished by island hopping. After that, no one knows how straight they fly. (The quality of the shot here isn't the greatest as my box does not do well at a high ISO. Shot at ISO 1600, F/1.4 with an exposure compensation of -3 stop. The slight purple on the tail is not due to overexposure but a colour in the type of bulb the headlamps on the volunteers use, and I could not completely adjust for. Some better quality shots are coming, but I love the pose of this one, and decided to showcase it first.) Note: The owls are drawn in with a taped contact call and are caught in a fine netting from which they are very carefully extracted. The public wasn't allowed at this spot, as space was limited, and of course the concern for the owls stress level takes top priority. Also, an increased number of people at that site would be a hindrance to the owls desire to make contact with the 'owl' calling. Observers were allowed to wait by the booth area where the banding was done and data collected. At this site, no loud noises were allowed, even that of talking above a whisper or a very low decibel voice tone. The owls sensitivity to noise is 10x's that of humans. The owls are then taken to a release box that is open at one end, where they are placed and are able to allow their eyes to readjust to the dark before they fly away. They are ready to fly anywhere from 5-20 minutes, depending on how badly they were exposed to light during the procedure. If they show undue stress during the banding process, the desire for data is ignored and they are released immediately.

  • Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T2i
  • Focal: 50 mm
  • Shutter speed: 0.01 sec
  • Aperture: f/ 1.4
tagged: "northern saw-whet owl" "saw-whet owl" owl "pedder bay" biologist "bird banding" bird banding


Sheri Rypstra posted 2017-10-16 10:12pm

Thank you Sticks!!

Sticks posted 2017-10-04 12:11am

Cool :)


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