Nocturnal Owl Monitoring Project


The Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) is a small, migratory raptor which has been monitored extensively in Eastern North America since the 1950s. However, little is known about the Western population of these owls.

In 2002, RPBO partnered with Project Owlnet and began monitoring during Fall migration at Rocky Point. In 2014, a second site was opened at the Pedder Bay Marina providing, in addition to monitoring, a training site for volunteers and an educational opportunity for the community.

Owl 10000thAs of 2023 RPBO has banded and collected data on 14,490 Northern Saw-whet Owls, giving us insight into population cycles and the health of individuals and allowing us to collaborate with a continental network of researchers through data sharing. Though we have learned that Southern Vancouver Island is an important migratory route for Saw-whets, we know very little about their wintering and breeding locations. We are exploring new technologies and partnerships that will allow us to learn more to protect their important habitats.

In 2019, early on the morning of Tuesday, October 1, we banded our 10,000th Northern Saw-whet Owl. While not the cutest owl we've ever processed, it is still very special to us.

Visiting Our Owl Banding Operation

If you would like to visit the owls at our Pedder Bay site, please check out our owl visitor page to find out more and to get free tickets. (Our Rocky Point site requires special clearance and is not open to visitors.)

Banders Code of Ethics

Safety is our highest priority - for our personnel and of course, the birds.  All of our Banders, station staff and volunteers strictly adhere to our Banders Code of Ethics.

Please click here to download a copy.

Final Season-end Reports

Reports from our nocturnal Northern Saw-whet Owl migration monitoring operations are available for all years as PDFs.

Long-eared Owl (LEOW) Nesting Study

Following the incidental capture of three Long-eared Owls (Asio otus) (LEOW) in the fall of 2020 at the Rocky Point field station during the NSWO Monitoring project, the question arose as to whether or not a breeding population might have established itself at Rocky Point. A two-phase trial was conducted from 1 February 2021 through 15 May 2021.

Read the Pilot Study Summary 2020

Read the full Breeding Status Survey Report

Nocturnal Owl Nestbox Monitoring Project

The following report reflects the results of our efforts in 2012 monitoring Northern Saw-wet Owl nestboxes on the Boardman Tree Farm in Boardman, Oregon.  Read the full Report.

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