This is a Saw Whet Owl.
Let’s admit it- this owl is breathtakingly adorable. If you live anywhere in the vicinity of Prince Edward County, Ontario, October is the month to you have a chance to see them in person. Saw Whet Owl banding is taking place each evening at Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory.
Here’s a photo that shows the relative sizes of the Barred Owl and the Saw Whet Owl. Good thing Ron is holding them, or the Barred Owl would probably have the Saw Whet for a little snack.
Don’t forget, though, that Saw Whet Owls are formidable hunters themselves, and do their share to keep down the songbird and rodent populations!
Saw Whet Owls make a small southward migration around the Great Lakes in October of each year, headed to the Northeastern United States. Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory is located in their path.
About 900 owls per year are banded and released from the banding station at Prince Edward Point. Audio lures of Saw Whet Owl calls are used to attract the little owls, who are then captured in nets. The bird banders at the station use the ultimate care to prevent these owls from harm and stress.
They weigh and measure them, determine their sex, and place a metal identification band on the owl’s lower leg. When owls are recovered in other locations, a report is sent back to the station at Prince Edward Point. This information is used to determine range and population trends for the owls.
The banders are very keen to educate the public, so visitors are welcome to come to the banding station and observe.
Owl banding takes place in the evening all throughout October, starting at 8:30 p.m.
Banding will not take place if it is rainy or windy, as this would compromise the well being of the owls.
You never know what you will see when you are there. In the past couple of years we have also seen Eastern Screech Owls and Barred Owls at the station.
So, as with all wildlife, you never know what you will see on any given day. What I do know is that if you want a chance to see these adorable owls and learn more about them, the best way to do it is to take a visit to the Saw Whet Owl banding, taking place in October.
For more information about October Saw Whet Owl banding at Prince Edward Point, you can refer to these links: