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ORI hosts writer Jennifer Ackerman for a week in the field

May 4, 2022

ORI was thrilled to host award-winning and New York Times bestselling science writer Jennifer Ackerman for a week in late April. She is the author of numerous books, including most recently The Bird Way (2020) and The Genius of Birds (2016). (Both are excellent reads, and are highly recommended by all of us here at ORI!)

She spent her time with us here in Montana out in the field, heading out every day with the field crew and learning about the owls we study and the hard work and dedication that goes into our long-term research projects. We were delighted she was able to spend so much time with us, and enjoyed sharing our work with her!

On her last day in the field with us, we were able to band this adult female Long-eared Owl:

Writer Jennifer Ackerman holds a Long-eared owl.
Jennifer Ackerman holds the female Long-eared Owl after banding as the crew prepares for the owl's release.

Close up of the face and upper chest of a female long-eared owl being held by a researcher

Though the field crew hasn't found a nest in the area, she was spotted with a male (who we were not able to capture). When weighted, this female was much heavier than is typical, which makes us think she may be about to lay eggs... we'll be surveying the area again soon, so hopefully she has a successful nest!

After banding and taking some measurements, the owl was ready to be released. In this video, Denver Holt explains to Jennifer Ackerman the path the owl will take, and talks a little bit about how Long-eared Owls are able to fly and navigate easily through the dense branches and other vegetation. Jennifer then carefully releases the female Long-eared Owl, who flies safely off into the draw.


Learn more about Jennifer Ackerman on her website:

Find her books at your local library or at your favorite local bookstore


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