On September 17th, I volunteered, with the DEP and the Jamaica Bay Guardian, to assist in the banding of Barn Owls in Queens NY. This was a follow-up to the August 19th banding where the adults (female) barn owls were banded. This time around, we went out to band the babies. The first box had everyone grinning because all five eggs had hatched. Chris our DEP banding expert examined the owlets and gave them all a clean bill of health. I was again thrilled to hold one of the owlets and suggested that Chris name him (assuming it was a boy) Soren, which is a name from the “GUARDIANS of GA’HOOLE series written by Kathryn Lasky.
Our second box had even more good news as the result were two babies and four eggs to be hatched...one more egg than was recorded on August 19th. Chris did a quick examination as we needed to allow the female to reenter her nest box to continue the incubation process. In fact, Don was so concerned about hurrying up the process that on the way down the ladder, he missed the last rung and ended up in a blackberry shrub. He was none for the worst with just a few scratches…the group showed how much they cared by leaving him there until a few good photos were taken with him in the shrub:)…I have to get my hands on those photos.
With that box we called it a day and headed back inland; along the way, we saw a number of birds including, Female Peregrine Falcon, several Ospreys, Great Egrets, Snowy Egret, Common Terns, Oystercatchers, A Great Blue Heron and lesser Yellow-Leg Sandpipers.
Our next trip might be around the middle of October, so the babies have enough time to grow a bit before we band them. All in all, it was a good day for banding owlets and I can’t wait for our next trip.
Don and Lloyd with Barn Owlets.
This photo taken by Don Riepe shows all 5 Owlets.
Barn Owlet from the second box...too small to be banded.