Bird Banding at the Beaverhill Bird Observatory!


Bird banding was the first big event I got to participate in with the UAlberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society and it was definitely interesting. I didn’t have a great idea of what we’d actually be doing and if I did I would have worn way way way more clothes.

The way it works is at some point, possibly when it gets dark, the staff at the observatory lure in particular owl species with their mating calls. There was a Boreal owl call and the Northern Saw-whet owl call that we got to listen to all night. The second one sounds sort of like a truck backing up and I didn’t place it as an owl call on the hike to the observatory.

In the cold, cold outside we all stood until every 30 minutes when a check was done to see if any owls had been successfully lured. I was there from about 7:00pm until 11:00pm and my toes were frozen. The event technically went on until 1:30am but there was no way my extremities were lasting that long.

The observatory may or may not be on the local dark sky preserve, I’m not sure but the night sky was really beautiful. I tried a couple of long exposure shots but couldn’t manage to capture anything impressive. It will have to stay as one of those views that I just get to remember, haha.

So, we got the privilege of watching 5 owls being banded, and inspected – all Northern Saw-whet owls.


These tiny owls were remarkably cooperative! They didn’t seem to mind being expertly handled with the exception of the occasional clicking noise. At the end of the banding process, they were calm enough to be held up for a photograph.


The whole night was a lot of fun and it was great to see the banding process first hand. In light of things being colder, posts are becoming more sparse but tomorrow is the Edmonton Reptile show again and I think I’m going to try to head out and see that. (:

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