When you’re already 0 for 3 and you really need to see a Flammulated Owl, it doesn’t hurt to tag along with the world’s foremost authority on this owl species while he’s working in the field. That would be Dr. Brian Linkhart, a professor at Colorado College. Dr. Linkhart has been studying this small owl in the Manitou Experimental Forest since 1981. Brian has been able to uncover fascinating secrets about this owl. One of the most exciting things happened this weekend when they recovered twos geolocators that when the data has been analyzed will reveal the winter locations of two individuals.
So today Peter Gent, Bill Vanderpoel and I traveled to the 6,758-ha Manitou Experimental Forest northwest of Colorado Springs. We followed Brian and his team up a dirt road three miles into the forest where they stopped next to a stand of Aspen. They had a nest hole identified with two recently hatched babies inside. After a tap the mother poked it’s head out then flew 20 feet away and waited patiently for the team to weigh and measure the owlets before returning them to the nest hole.
This was a fun and enjoyable day and Brian made it about as easy as can be. Thank you, Brian. Research like Brian’s will help preserve this cute little owl for future generations.