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Fall 2012 was an excellent season for the MRBO Northern Saw-whet Owl (NSWO) project. At our two sites in Marshall - Indian Foothills Park and MRBO Home - we caught a total of 40 owls during nightly operation from October 23rd to November 27th. The majority of captures occured in the window of October 26th to November 15th. We also caught three owls, probably over-wintering birds, on December 3rd in rural Carroll County.
An incredibly exciting capture occured on the night of October 29th. We caught a NWSO that had been banded on September 13th in central Saskatchewan. This represents MRBO's first foreign recovery, and displays that this After-Second-Year female owl traveled over 2,000 km in six weeks.
The Fall 2011 NSWO season, our first full season with nightly operation, was also a great success! Over the month of November we caught 18 owls at our permanent site in Marshall, MO at Indian Foothills Park. We also caught two owls at Powell Gardens in mid-November and two more outside of Rolla.
It's not over yet...now that we've determined that this species regularly uses central Missouri for fall migration, we want to know if and where the NSWO winters in Missouri. Throughout the winter each year we will attempt trapping in several locations throughout the state.
MRBO's involvement with NSWOs began in 2010. Inspired by Gene Jacobs in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and Jerry Toll (below) of Hitchcock Nature Center, Council Bluffs, Iowa, we made several attempts at trapping these small owls in November 2010.
Until recently, Northern Saw-whet Owls were thought to migrate only as far south as northern Illinois and Iowa. Recent work by banders at more southerly locations has shown that during most winters, these owls will move as far south as Alabama.
Successful trapping here in Marshall, and GREAT success (nine Saw-whet Owls in 6 hours) at the home of Jo and Jack Spicer in Benton County in 2010, has shown that these small owls do migrate through and winter in Missouri.
For more information on this charismatic little bird, try:
For a full article on MRBO and NSWOs in MO click here
Below: The Indian Foothills Park crew - Daniel Cardoso, Joanna Klass, and Brittney Cross - with two owlsrecaptured on November 11th, 2012.
Below: Iowa Bander Jerry Toll, who inspired us to try for these owls, and showed us how it's done on November 4th, 2010.
Conservation in Missouri through research, education, and outreach
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A 501(c)(3) Non-profit organization located in Marshall, MO