Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



“Northern Saw-whet Owls: Rare or Overlooked? An Example from the Central Platte Valley” from Nebraska Bird Review (June 2005) 73(2).


Copyright 2005 Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union. Used by permission.


Assessing the population status for species requires accurate measures of local or regional numbers. For many species, standardized protocols exist for estimating local numbers through visual counts (e.g., Breeding Bird Survey routes, Christmas Bird Count circles, and point count protocols used by the US Forest Service). For many raptor species, monitoring populations at migratory bottlenecks such as the Goshute Mountains, NV, Hawk Mountain, PA, and Cape May, NJ, provide yearly indices of population health. Unfortunately, most monitoring protocols overlook a suite of small crepuscular or nocturnal species. Project Owlnet ( is a volunteer-based network of banding stations focusing on Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) migration in the eastern part of the United States and Canada. Information collected by Project Owlnet volunteer groups reveals that this small owl appears to be far more common than previously thought.