Date: 1/19/18 9:33 pm
From: Mitchell Pruitt <0000000b4ac30a99-dmarc-request...>
Subject: Exciting Winter Saw-whet Owl Monitoring and Red Crossbills
Today’s telemetry survey (on Madison County WMA) was a great success! I was accompanied by Alyssa DeRubeis, Anant Deshwal, and Pooja Panwar. We started things off with a cooperative Bald Eagle perched above the little church in Forum. Additionally, with the crossbill dream team along, it wasn’t long before we had Red Crossbills in the usual spot.

Over the last month, I’ve picked up signals from 4 tagged Northern Saw-whet Owls in the area. On today’s survey, an individual that I heard from Sunday was no where to be found, while our only tagged male, Moose, was still in the same spot he has been in since November. The signal from Moose has been coming from the same area for a while and despite my efforts, he has been difficult to locate. Fearing the transmitter had fallen off, or worse, I decided to go after him again today. Navigating several steep hollows, we finally managed to narrow the signal to a grove of pines/cedars and, eventually, the roost tree itself. Of course, I was relieved as soon as I realized the signal was coming from a tree and not the ground. We scanned pines for a while before I honed in on a specific tree, but knowing how hard saw-whets are to find, I was prepared for not getting a visual. BUT, through binoculars, aimlessly staring into the highest boughs of a shortleaf pine, I happened to see the little owl!

All got great looks! It was amazing how it hung onto its roost despite the wind (photo attached).

Out of curiosity, I decided to give the ground a quick look under the tree. I was completely surprised when I actually found a pellet and was even more surprised when our searching turned up FIVE more (photo attached)! I can’t wait to pick them apart to see what this guy has been eating during his time in Arkansas. Clearly he has been hanging out at this site a while.

Good owling!
Mitchell Pruitt

Join us on Facebook!