Owl migration

4 11 2010

While the height of raptor migration may already be behind us for this year, some birds are still moving through The Garden State on the way to their wintering grounds. Earlier this week, Northern Saw-whet Owls and Long-Eared Owls began passing through New Jersey.

Taking a Saw-whet's measurements during banding (Photo by Kaitlyn Marczi)

On Monday night, six owls were banded at Sandy Hook. Another nine were banded in Cape May, most being Northern Saw-whet Owls. In addition to the banded birds, other owls were being spotted throughout the day, including a pair of Long-Eared Owls.

Kaitlyn Marczi, one of CMBO's seasonal employees, holds a Northern Saw-wheat Owl before it is released

Some of these birds (particularly the ones in Cape May) are planning on continuing their journeys south for the winter. Others, however, will make New Jersey their home for the colder months. Barn Owls have been seen hunting throughout the state over the past few weeks, and in past years the rare Snowy Owl has made an appearance in NJ. Short-Eared Owls are also regular winter visitors, although depending on the year their numbers may vary dramatically. The species that breed in NJ can often still be found here during the colder months – birds like Eastern Screech Owls and the ubiquitous Great Horned Owls.

Long-Eared Owl (Photo by Bill Lynch)

It may not be quite as comfortable birding in December and January as it is birding in the spring or early autumn, but it is a great time to find and respectfully observe these elusive and endlessly interesting nocturnal raptors.

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One response

28 09 2011
New to Owls

Thanks for posting info…as I’ve spent a good chunk of the night looking up owls. I’ve never experienced a night with little sleep due to backyard owl activity! Your site in addition to another with recordings lends me to believe at least two long eared owls were chatty kathys (enough to arouse me from slumber & keep it that way) and just a few moments ago a different species…w more a lone barkhonk quality to it (alas, no time to research that one…as it is time to begin preparations for he school day!) thanks again for info!

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