Upcoming Field Trips
Photo by Cameron Rogman
Don Poggensee's Mysterious Northern Saw-whet Owls
Sunday, January 15, 9:15 a.m.
Elfin-sized owls with wide eyes arrive like clockwork every winter in Ida Grove, Iowa, where Don Poggensee faithfully tracks their movements. In late October, we received this intriguing report from Don describing a mysterious pattern he's observed in their behavior: "Today our first-ofthe-season Saw-whet Owl has appeared. This is our 27 th or 28 th year of seeing the little Saw-whets here in Moorehead Park. By my records, this is one day earlier that any during the past years. Another interesting fact is that the last three first-of-the-year Saw-whets all were in the same tree or very close nearby. One was November 1, another was October 31, and this year it was October 30. They all seem to be first-year birds, with no bands on their legs. We have banded here now for the past three years. My question is: how and why the very same tree or within feet of the same tree, each of the last three years, with the first-of-the-year birds???" This question remains unanswered so far, but if you'd like to try your luck at seeing one of these wee eight-inch owls, bundle up for winter temperatures and grab your camera. They can be extremely photogenic when located on their day roosts in mid-sized conifers, and Don is a master at finding them if they're present.
We'll meet at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, January 15, on the south side of the State Capitol in Lincoln, 15th and H streets across from the governor's mansion. Participants can either carpool or caravan the 150 miles to our destination. Anyone preferring to join the group at Moorehead Park can meet there around 12:00 noon. We'll plan to swing by Owego Wetlands and check for Short-eared Owls on our early evening return trip home, but folks can head back sooner if they prefer. Bring binoculars and scope if you have them. There is no fee and the public is welcome. If you have questions, call John at 402-475-7275.