Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dizzy still in area

It was another unusually warm autumn day at Weiser State Forest yesterday as I set out to locate “Dizzy,” the saw-whet we caught October 5 at Small Valley. I did not pick up her signal near the Small Valley banding station, where she roosted on October 7, so I drove northeast through the state forest towards her last known roost location.

On October 11, Scott and I located her on roost just north of Wolf Pond Road. Today, I drove past this location to a nearby vantage point. I did not pick up a signal north over the valley, so I headed back to where I came from. As a turkey ran out in front of me, I stopped the vehicle, which decreased my background noise just enough to hear the faint “beep” of Dizzy’s transmitter off in the distance through my roof antenna. I hooked up my receiver to my folding “handheld” antenna, which indicated Dizzy was southeast of me.

I found her soon after at the top of a black gum tree, just three quarters of a mile east north east of her previous roost location on October 11. I couldn’t actually see her, but her signal was localized in a raptor nest about 30 feet off the ground. Saw-whets have used similar abandoned nests for roost locations in the past, but according to Scott Weidensaul, nothing in the literature suggests this has been observed elsewhere. As I was collecting habitat data, six titmice flew in and were quite upset to find Dizzy, but did not stick around very long. This roost location is about 2.5 miles north east of the Small Valley banding station.

It will be interesting to see her roost movements in the next few days as temperatures drop, which may encourage Dizzy to continue her migration. On the other hand, Dizzy may choose to spend the entire winter in this area. We will continue to monitor her roosting activity as long as she stays in the area, and in the meantime, we will continue to patiently wait for more owls to arrive at King’s Gap. Again, last night the moon was too bright and temperatures were just too warm, and no owls were caught at any of the three sites.

1 comment:

Chase said...

This makes for fantastic lunch time office reads!! Very fascinating stuff, boy what I would give to band Saw-Whets out there!!!