Northern Saw-whet Owl banding

Northern Saw-whet Owl banding

Indiana’s first Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station was established in Yellowwood State Forest, Brown County, in 2002 by Dr. Ross Brittain and Jess Gwinn with the goal of discovering more about the migratory habits of the species as a whole. The researchers also hoped to learn more about the different sex and age classes of this small, migratory owl.

Susan and Jim Hengeveld, coordinators of the NSWO banding station since 2010, pose for a picture with a Northern Saw-whet Owl during one of the evening banding sessions. Photo courtesy of Susan Hengeveld

The NSWO banding station has been operating each fall since its establishment. Drs. Susan and Jim Hengeveld became the project coordinators in 2010.

Community outreach and education has been an important part of the project from the beginning, offering citizen scientists a chance to observe and assist.

About Northern Saw-whet Owls

The large yellow eyes of this Northern Saw-whet Owl are mesmerizing. Note the metal identification band on its left leg. Photo by Susan Hengeveld

Northern Saw-whet Owls nest in mixed boreal forests in southern Canada and the northern United States as well as in higher elevation habitats in the eastern and western U.S. It is one of a minority of owl species that undergo substantial migrations.

Northern Saw-whet Owls are present in Indiana only during spring and fall migrations and in small numbers during the winter.