Romulus (No Remus, at Least Not Yet)

Scott WeidensaulUpdates8 Comments

Selena Creed, left, applies glue to the harness knots holding Romulus’ transmitter under the guidance of Nova Mackentley. (©Chris Neri)

Even as the season’s winding down, things are heating back up. We have a new owl in Michigan to introduce — Romulus, an immature male named, not for one of the legendary founders of ancient Rome (at least not directly), but for the town of Romulus, MI. That’s actually where the Detroit Metro Airport is located, and that’s where airport biologist Selena Creed captured him late last month.

Selena Creed with Romulus, tagged and ready to go. (©Nova Mackentley)

Selena transported him north and met with longtime SNOWstorm banders Nova Mackentley and Chris Neri, who fitted him with a transmitter, and Selena then released him in Huron County, in the “thumb” of the Lower Peninsula, late on the night of Feb. 26.

So far, so good; Romulus has zigzagged back and forth across Saginaw Bay (one of the few areas on Lake Huron that’s solidly frozen) and March 1 he was on the ice just north of Bay City.

Look for Romulus’ map to be posted soon to the SNOWstorm list — the rapidly growing list — of newly tagged owls from this winter. For the moment, the link above may be inactive, but check back in a day or so.

Incidentally, Selena (like most raptor biologists) usually use traps of various sorts to catch owls. But on at least four occasions this winter, Selena’s caught snowy owls at the Detroit airport by hand. Seriously; she sneaks up, rushes and grabs them. That, my friends, is hard-core raptor trapping.

(Oh, and there is a Remus, MI, by the way — but we haven’t caught or released an owl there yet, so the Romulus-and-Remus historical symmetry is as yet incomplete.)


Romulus is an immature male, born sometime last summer. (©Nova Mackentley)

Echo on the Ice
One, Two, Three New Owls

8 Comments on “Romulus (No Remus, at Least Not Yet)”

  1. Selena is the OG Owl Catcher! I LOVE this!! Man I bet those birds are surprised when the primate just pounces on them!

    1. Yes, pretty incredible — even our own Norman Smith, who has captured many hundreds of snowy owls in four decades at Logan in Boston, said he’s never hand-grabbed a snowy. Hand-nets, yes, but not just (as you say) pouncing on them.

  2. I’ve been working with snowy owls for 34 years and never entertained the idea of capturing one by hand…. but this woman is scary FAST!! ….and brave.

  3. Boy! That is so cool Selena! I never thought that we could actually just grab the owl! One handsome boy!

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