• Outdoor Radio: Tracking the Northern Saw-whet Owl

    Northern Saw-whet Owl

    Birdwatcher Carol Suich had never seen a Northern Saw-whet owl. This was a life bird for her that perched on her arm after it was banded before taking off into the night.

    One of the most common owls in forests across northern North America during the breeding season, Northern Saw-whet Owls are nocturnal and seldom seen. But you may hear them. Listen for a sharp, high, repeated too-too-too call, reminiscent of the sound a truck makes to warn you it is backing up.

    During October and November they migrate southward from their northern haunts to spend the winter in dense forests across the central and southern US. Hundreds of biologists are studying their migration and populations across the continent at banding stations, several of them in Vermont.

    This month on Outdoor Radio, VCE biologists Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra join North Branch Nature Center to witness the process of capturing and banding an owl, and a local bird watcher experiences the thrill of seeing a Northern Saw-whet Owl for the first time.


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    Outdoor Radio is a monthly feature produced in collaboration with Vermont Public Radio. The program is made possible by the VPR Journalism Fund and by a grant to VCE from the Vermont Community Foundation. The program is produced and edited by VPR’s Chief Production Engineer, Chris Albertine.

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    Comments (1)

    1. Sue Wetmore says:

      I really enjoyed the piece on saw-whet owls. It brought back the time I was privileged to hold and release one.

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