Fall is an exciting time for owl enthusiasts here at Shenandoah River State Park. Owl lovers of all kinds venture out after dark with the hopes of catching an up-close glimpse of these elusive creatures of the night. This fall, we are focusing on banding beautiful Northern Saw-whet owls, who are temporary park guests during their winter migration from Canada. Saw-whet owls are one of the smallest owls in North America,standing an average of only 6-8 inches tall. They are nocturnal owls, preferring a mixed habitat of coniferous and deciduous forests, likely near water. These owls nest in tree cavities, especially those abandoned by pileated woodpeckers. Saw-whets are known to perch fairly close to the ground, waiting for opportune moments to capture mice or other small rodents.
Chief Ranger Brett Clawson has managed the banding station here at the park since 2008 in collaboration with Lord Fairfax Community College. Students taking certain natural resource courses are afforded the opportunity to come to the park and learn how to perform the banding process for extra-credit.
In addition to our local area students, several students from Shenandoah Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists joining us, too!
The owl banding eventstake place in the evening throughout the month of November. The banding is open to the public and interested individuals are encouraged to callthe park officeat 540-622-6840 for more information andup-to-date details regarding dates, times, and meeting place. We look forward to a great season!
**Click here for directions to Shenandoah River State Park