Biologists across the world tag thousands of birds each year with unique leg bands, giving identities to individual birds. Sightings of these banded birds help answer questions about bird movements, lifespans, and survival. In Marco Island, you can find banded birds that live here year-round, and “snowbirds” that only visit for the winter. Here, we share the story of one banded bird found in Marco Island.
Meet Burrowing Owl “GX-GB”
You might recognize this adult male as one of the two owls that nested at Residents’ Beach in 2018. He was banded last spring with a set of four bands: Green/Metal on his left leg, and Green/Blue on his right. He and his mate successfully raised five chicks last summer in their sandy burrow in the dunes, and are currently caring for six chicks this season! GX-GB is part of a research study through the University of Florida, and biologists will be keeping a close eye on him for the next several years to learn more about his life in Marco Island.
Have you seen a banded bird? Send a photo or description to Audubon Florida biologist Adam DiNuovo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alli Smith is a current M.S. student at the University of Florida. Alli was introduced to a charming population of urban burrowing owls, and to the passionate volunteers that monitor them under the guidance of Audubon of the Western Everglades (AWE). Current research is looking at burrowing owl space use, population genetics, and nesting site selection.