Trip Reports
Northern Saw-whet Owl Banding & Bashakill Birding (Sullivan County)
October 26-27, 2013

Note: Once again NYSYBC was lucky enough to be invited to witness and help with the banding of Northern Saw-whet Owls. We are especially grateful to Valerie Freer and Lance Verderame of the Sullivan County Audubon Society, a NYSYBC Partner Club, who are the banders. Lance also took us to bird the Bashakill the next morning, which was a treat as always. NYSYBC even picked up a new lifer there - Golden Eagle! Thanks also to Mary Collier, Renee Davis, and Rick Bunting, who shared their knowledge and experiences with us between net checks. Rick had lots of great bird photos to show us, too!

Valerie teaches us about owls - photo by Carena Pooth
Valerie teaches us about owls - photo by Carena Pooth

On October 26, 2013, the NYSYBC went to Sullivan County, NY to see Northern Saw-whet owl banding.  There were 8 excited young birders there, along with their parents and Carena and Herb.  We had been warned that owl banding had been slow this year and that we might not get to see any owls.  We got lucky and there were actually two owls we got to help band.  I was very excited to see my very first Saw-whet Owl in person instead of in a picture.  They were a lifer for me.

Banding was very exciting because it was my first time watching someone band a bird.  First, they had a net set outside near a recorder playing a Saw-whet Owl call.  We went outside every half hour to check the nets.  If there was an owl we would take it inside and we would measure the wings and beak, identify the gender, look at the wing feathers under a UV light, weigh it, and look at the eye color.  The two owls were both females.  The owl banders told us that they catch more females than males every year but they're not sure why.

Thanks to Valerie Freer for opening her house to us and teaching us about banding, and to Lance Verderame, Rick Bunting, Renee Davis, and Mary Collier for sharing their knowledge about Saw-whet owls and banding with us.  The owls were so cute and tiny!  I can see why people love to study them!

 — Sean Freiburger, age 12

         View photo gallery, including photos of our trip to the Bashakill the next day

             List of Birds Seen on this Trip 
by Truth Muller

Canada Goose
American Black Duck
Green-winged Teal
Pied-Billed Grebe
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Golden Eagle - NYSYBC lifer!
American Coot
Greater Yellowlegs
Wilson's Snipe
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Northern Saw-whet Owl (banding)

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch

Species Total: 44