Albany Pine Bush News

saw-whet owl banding (4)Pine Bush science staff and volunteers have been working late hours this fall trying to catch Northern Saw-whet Owls in the preserve. The Northern Saw-whet is a species that breeds in the dense forests of northern New York into Canada. Although scientists have a good handle on habitat preferences during the breeding season, not much is know about what this enigmatic little owl does during the winter season. In an effort to find out if they utilize the Pine Bush habitat during migration, Commission scientists are piloting a study that involves catching and banding them. On cold autumn nights, we use the sound of a Northern Saw-whet owl song to lure curious owls in for study. The Saw-whet was actually named for its song, a series of high pitch toots, which sounds like a whetstone being worked over the teeth of a saw blade. After being captured, a small aluminum band with a unique number is placed on their leg. This allows us, and other scientists who may catch our banded owls, to identify individuals and follow their movements helping us to learn more about their winter habits. This pilot project is part of a bigger continent-wide study called Project Owlnet. More information can be found at

Wendy @ 12:44 pm

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