Friday, November 01, 2013

Getting Ready for Release

Now that all three owlets have their full adult territorial hoots, it's time to get them on their way. I have the radio telemetry equipment, but wanted to have someone with some experience put it on.  I contacted a couple of experienced folks who would have been happy to help but were just simply too swamped. Thankfully Bob Anderson, although very busy himself, was willing to do it with Amy Reis on Monday or Tuesday.

The transmitter itself will be mounted on the central two "deck" feathers of the tail.  It will be sewn on to the feathers, and will fall off the owls when they molt those feathers next summer.  So the trick is to then get the transmitters reattached to the birds so I can track them for a full year as the MN DNR requires.

Here you can see the transmitter positioned on a dead owl (dead owls are great for practicing things like  attaching transmitters).

These are not satellite transmitters, and I'll need to track the owls with a receiver, pictured below.  Basically I tune it to the channel of each transmitter, move it around, and go in the direction that gives the loudest beeps.  I hope the range on these transmitters and the good receiver I got will be able to handle the travels of the owlets.

Now before the transmitters are put on the owls we need to practice using the receiver to locate the transmitters, and involve the man who has agreed to help us track the owls.  Kind of like playing hide-and-seek.

Once the transmitters are attached to the owlets, we'll keep them a couple of more days to make sure everything is going well with owls and transmitters.  Then we'll open the door to the big wide world and see what happens!

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