I got up a little earlier than usual this morning, to help bird bander Tom Brown with some Northern Saw-whet Owl banding here on Sandy Hook. Tom has been banding songbirds on the Hook and elsewhere in the metropolitan area for years, and last fall started banding at night here on Sandy Hook with an audio lure for saw-whets. He caught more than he expected back then, and this spring is trying again for saw-whets. The individual shown above was his third this spring. We aged it as a second year bird, so born last year.
We wondered if severe winter weather was responsible for the contrast between the fall and spring numbers of saw-whets.