Thursday, May 21, 2015

Charlie's Owls

A birder from Buffalo South Dakota donated a pair of his mini binoculars to the class, so the kids made him thank you cards.  Then he wrote a very nice letter back to the kids and I including beautiful, large photos of Northern Saw-whet Owls.  He wrote descriptions on the back of each photo.  I read them to the kids and they were very interested.

These owls are small 7"-8" owls with an over-sized head and they look pretty cute!  They also are quite secretive, so they are rarely seen.  I have heard one near the dam, but otherwise they are not known to be in our area, but who knows.

Charlie has built 44 nest boxes for these owls.  This spring was a very good year with a total of 246 eggs!  After they hatch, he measures and bands the owls with a metal band and a number.  Then if the owl is captured or found at a later date, scientist can go to a data base to find out where it originated.  In this way, Charlie, is a citizen science helping determine the range and population of a species.  Last year, one of his banded Northern Saw-whet Owls was recaptured at a banding station in Wisconsin over 600 miles away!  That is quite a journey for a little owl that was just over 6 months old, but birds are amazing creatures!

Here are the photos that he sent:

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