RESEARCH FOCUS: MONTANA MIGRATION PROJECT

MONTANA MIGRATION RESEARCH PROJECT

In Fall 2010, we conducted a pilot study of fall migration site of small forest owls. The main site was at Blue Mountain Fire Lookout (in Lolo NF) and a secondary site was on the MPG Ranch. At Blue Mountain, we captured 1 Flammulated Owl, 1 Northern Pygmy Owl, and 7 Northern Saw-Whet Owls, and we detected 7 species of owls. At the Bitterroot site, we trapped and banded 8 Northern Saw-Whet Owls. We plan to continue refining our methods in determining if Western Montana is a migration flyway for owls.

Saw-Whet Migration Notes: Although fellow banders in Canada and Idaho have reported strong numbers during this year's Saw-whet Owl migration, here in Montana it's been relatively slow. To date, we've captured around 70 Northern Saw-whet Owls. We did have one individual who was captured and banded in Missoula in late September that found its way to Lucky Peak Bird Observatory outside of Boise, ID and was recaptured there in the first week of October.  Recaptures and encounters like this are rare. Individually, these records are interesting, but over time a collection of these data can help us understand the patterns and movements of Northern Saw-whet Owls and perhaps identify important habitats.