Swets in My Nets

Migration of the Northern Saw-whets Owls

Northern Saw-whet Owl in Hand - Photo Credit: Marco Restani
Northern Saw-whet Owl in Hand – Photo Credit: Marco Restani

Marco Restani of Montana Audubon will be featured speaker at our annual meeting on May 9. His presentation will focus on migration ecology of Northern Saw-whet Owls and the techniques used to run an owl banding station.

Twice a year millions of birds migrate north and south across the planet in search of food, mates, and a better climate. Migrations of some species are visible during the day, but many more migrate at night, under cover of darkness, safe from predators, and to exploit cooler and calmer air. A cadre of professional biologists and enthusiastic hobbyists work through the night to capture and band thousands of Northern Saw-whet Owls each autumn to learn about the haunts and habits of this most charismatic little bird. A coordinated network of banding stations – Project Owlnet – spans the continent from coast to coast. Restani operated a station in central Minnesota from 2010-2015.

Marco Restani is Director of Conservation at Montana Audubon, a position he has held since December 2015. Prior to returning to the state, he was Professor of Wildlife Ecology at St. Cloud State University for over 13 years. He obtained a BS from the University of Montana, an MS from Montana State, and a PhD from Utah State. He has studied raptors in Montana since 1987.