Colorado Avian Research and Rehabilitation Institute

First Northern Saw-whet Owl of 2014. A young owl hatched in 2014.

First Northern Saw-whet Owl banded in the 2014 fall banding project.

The fall Owl Banding Season has begun… We trap Northern Saw-whet Owls three evenings per week.  Our fist evening of trapping was 17  Sept.  We caught four owls, three hatching year birds and one second year bird.  The week of the 21st of September we will be trapping Boreal Owls within Rocky Mountain National Park (see Boreal owl photo below).

***As of 20 October 2014, we now have live feed cameras on the  nets that we are using for trapping the Northern Saw-whet Owls. It was very handy the first evening as we watched a single owl hit one nest then fly off.  That told us that the nest was too tight. The second owl hit a different net and was captured. The nets can be monitored from inside the house then as soon as a bird hits the nest it can be extracted. This alleviates  undo stress on the bird because he is not in the nest for any length of time.

This photo shows on line view of the nets that we use for trapping the owls

This photo shows on line view of the nets that we use for trapping the owls

Volunteers are welcome, however the Northern Saw-whet project occurs at a private residence and there is only room for three people at each banding session. Children do not do well in this environment due to the extended amount of down time. Therefore, children under the age of 16 are not permitted. 

*****All of CARRI’s projects are fully funded by private donations.  All donations are tax deductible!

This year, CARRI is need of new mist nets and a new sound system to continue this project fully.  Our mist nets are old and tattered from weather and our sound system is from the 1980′s and in need of an upgrade.  If you like this type of project please feel free to donate online today.  Thank You.

The goal of the project is to answer questions about these little owls including but are not limited to…. 

1) What are the numbers of of these owls in the Estes Valley and RMNP?

2) Are they a true migrant or do they just wonder in the fall and winter to nest the following year where ever they end up in the spring?

3)Do the adults owls have any fidelity to their previous years nesting sites?

4)Where do the young of the year move to each fall/winter?

To view the past banding results look under the research tab at the top of this page under.

* For information please contact Scott at pygmyowl@frii.com 

Banding Northern Saw-whet Owls

Banding Northern Saw-whet Owls

Northern Saw-whet Owl roosting in a spruce during the day.

Northern Saw-whet Owl roosting in a spruce during the day 9/9/2014.

BARN OWL NESTING IN A NEST BOX IN COLORADO, WATCH LIVE!  Would you like to see more live coverage of nesting sites? The cost for each location runs about $500 for materials and the WiFi service.Donate for more projects like these!

*Six owlets were banded on the All six owlets and the adult female were banded 2 August,  with Fish and Wildlife Service leg bands. The bands will enable us to track the movements of each bird, provided that the banded bird is encountered at some point. Each owl was fat and healthy.

Inside the nest box we found several voles some intact and some partially eaten.  We  cleaned the dirty straw and replaced it  with fresh new straw. We also also placed 10 white mice inside the nest box along with the uneaten voles that were in the box when we banded the owlets.

***All of the owlets have fledged now. If you watch the exterior camera after dark you can frequently see several of the owls perched on the large branch  in front of the nest box.  However even though the owlets have fledged, some of them continue to return top the nest box each day. There is a chance one or more of the owls will spend the winter in the box.

Barn Owl numbers have declined over the years due to  man made causes such as loss of habitat and nesting sites.  Many old buildings that Barn Owls would use have been torn down and replaced by new buildings with no openings for the owls.  Therefore volunteers for CARRI built and placed 10 Barn Owl nest boxes in what we thought would be  good habitat for the owls. Of the 10 boxes placed, only this one was used by Barn Owls.

The camera on the above Barn Owl nest was placed in this box early this spring prior to the arrival of the owls. Barn Owls had been nesting in that area for years until their nest tree had fallen. The box was placed in hopes that the owls would find and use it.

Through this research CARRI is attempting to answer questions about  Barn Owls including:

1) When do Barn Owls begin nesting in Colorado?

2) Why are Barn Owls using this site and not any of the other nest boxes that we placed?

3)  How large is a Barn Owl’s territory and how close can nesting pairs be?

4) Is long grass a plus or not for nesting Barn Owls finding prey?

5) Are Barn Owls an efficient and inexpensive method of rodent control?

6) What modifications, if any would be advantageous for Barn Owl nest boxes?

7) Do Barn Owls mate for life?

8) Do Barn Owls locate prey by using their sense of smell?

9) When do Barn Owlets (young owls) leave their nests?

10) When do the young owls leave their nesting  areas and become independent from their parents?

The male Barn Owl from the above nest. He roosts hear the box when he is not inside with the family

The male Barn Owl from the above nest. He roosts hear the box when he is not inside with the family


CARRI Director Scott Rashid with one of the owlets prior to being banded.

CARRI Director Scott Rashid with one of the owlets prior to being banded.

CARRI Director  Scott Rashid teaching about Barn Owls

CARRI Director Scott Rashid teaching about Barn Owls

Beth Sherman placing one of the banded owlets back into their nest box.

Beth Sherman placing one of the banded owlets back into their nest box.

A closeup iof the oldest owlet.

A closeup of the oldest owlet.

Some up and coming biologists probing  through the nesting material in search of voles and pellets.

Some up and coming biologists probing through the nesting material in search of voles and pellets.

CARRI's annual Norhern  Saw-whet and Boreal Owl banding projects will begin in mid-September

CARRI’s Boreal Owl banding projects will begin in mid-September.