Written by Dawn Garcia, edited by Mary Huff
PSBO member and experienced bander Dawn Garcia recently recaptured a Northern Saw-whet Owl (NSWO) in Chico, CA, that was banded earlier this year in Montana.
Dawn set up a NSWO fall migration monitoring station at Chico State University after leaving the Pacific Northwest in 2005 to attend school there. She and her dedicated crew of subpermittees and volunteers have just completed their seventh year of monitoring. This year they had their FIRST EVER foreign recovery, which itself was exciting, but upon finding that the bird was originally banded 35 days earlier in Montana by the Owl Research Institute, the excitement reached new levels! For more information about this foreign recovery and the NSWO banding station at Chico, see Dawn’s BirdBling blog.
Click on the thumbnail images below to see larger size photographs of Dawn and the NSWO!
Dawn and Don Norman started banding NSWOs in 2002, after a call to banders by the Rocky Point Bird Observatory (RPBO) banding station near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. That fall, RPBO had captured over 200 migrating NSWO and assumed the birds were heading south into Washington. Don, Dawn, and other assistants (including PSBO members Mike Walker and Mel Richardson) set up a couple of nets near Dungeness Spit across from Victoria, and with the use of a “toot-toot-toot” tape (and protocol from Project Owlnet) captured three owls total, but none that were previously banded.
Since Dawn lived on Bainbridge Island, it was convenient for her to continue trying to catch more NSWO there, and with the help of Jamie Acker, she captured over 20 NSWO that season. They continued banding each fall and when finally captured their first foreign recovery, it was indeed a bird initially banded at RPBO! After Dawn moved to Chico, California, Jamie took charge of the NSWO banding station on the island; he has since captured over 200 NSWO. Jamie also continues a Barred Owl demographic study using color banding and radio telemetry, which he and Dawn started in 2002.
Dawn, Don Norman, and Christine Southwick started the winter banding project (now a color-banding project), with her site at Battlepoint Park on Bainbridge Island.
Yes, Dawn certainly has the banding bug! In Chico, she also operates a landbird banding station at two of the University’s reserves, and has also developed an outdoor educational program for kids through her local Audubon chapter, Altacal Audubon Society. The program is called “Ecology in Flight” and teaches kids about bird banding and conservation.
PSBO hopes to start some urban owl monitoring in the early spring of 2012 to help learn more about our little owls.