So Much to be Thankful For

Friends of Rushton Banding,

Feels like I haven’t brought you up-to-date for a while and that’s a fact, not just a feeling.

Predictions of rain caused us to cancel  morning banding, except for Thursday, 11/18 when we banded 20 birds.   We netted two juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawks, bringing our Sharpie (the bird, not the pen!) total to 4.  This small raptor in the order Falconiformes and the Accipiter family characteristically prefers birds to mammals as its main food.  Our Sharpies were chasing songbirds when they flew into the net.  Good for us and good for the song bird.  It lives another day and we got to band a gorgeous raptor and put some serious bling on his ankle.


Lisa, Lou and I put maximum effort into Saw-whet Owl banding when we saw our catch, now at 91, far exceed our expectations.  When you’re in striking distance of 100, you have to go for it and we are giving it our all.  The owl catch has dropped off from several birds per night to one or no birds per night.  The wind from the south and the early rise of the full moon have worked against us.  However, we’re hoping for a couple of good nights to bring us to 100.

We have another recovery of one of our banded owls.  Owl # 1014-34034,  a two year old female banded on 10/28 was recaptured at the Shenandoah River State Park, Bentonville, VA on 11/14.  That’s about 165 miles as the owl flies from Willistown.   Pretty neat.  I’m sending its captor Brett Clawson all our data and he’ll share his with us.
As December approaches the migration slows and our chance of reaching 100 owls diminishes.  So what, owl banding is not a sporting event.  There are no losers.  We all won by attempting to find out what goes on at night without our awareness, beyond our notice.  We know more now, but we’re left asking,  “What else might we not be aware of?”   Some salamanders migrate at night.  Can they be seen at Rushton Preserve?   Male Woodcocks return to breed in March.  They choose open fields as dancing grounds where they can attract choosy, strong females with their elaborate aerial displays and “peenting” calls.  Are Rushton fields attractive to Woodcock?   Lots of  questions, so much to learn, so much to be thankful for

See you in the woods,

Doris McGovern
Media, PA