CARRI's 2022 Results | Featured Articles | – Estes Park news

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Updated: December 19, 2022 @ 2:10 pm

The Colorado Avian Research and Rehabilitation Institute, or CARRI is an organization based in Estes Park that conducts avian research in Northern Colorado, including Estes Park, and takes care of injured and orphaned birds. You can visit our website at to see details of our work.
We research American Kestrels (North America’s smallest falcon), Barn Owls, Great Horned Owls, Northern Pygmy-Owls, Northern Saw-whet Owls, Flammulated Owls, Boreal Owls, Northern Goshawks, Hummingbirds, Black-billed Magpies, American Crows, Common Ravens and several species of songbirds.
We have 168 nest boxes for American Kestrels placed from Littleton to the Wyoming border. These falcons have been declining for years and we are trying to increase their numbers by giving them safe locations to nest and raise their families. This past year, kestrels in our boxes raised more than 120 young.
We have 36 nest boxes for Barn Owls from Littleton to Wellington. Barn Owl numbers have been declining due to loss of habitat, loss of nesting sites, and predation by Great Horned Owls. This year the Barn Owls in our boxes raised 36 owlets (young owls). We also have 10 nest boxes for Barn Owls outside of Austin, Texas, looking at the timing of Barn Owls in the south, and comparing that to the owls in Colorado.
Several of our boxes have cameras in them, allowing us to monitor every aspect of the bird’s nesting cycle, including their courtship, timing of egg laying, length of incubation, what the birds feed upon and more. We place numbered leg bands on every nestling that we can capture. We do this to identify individual birds and look to see how many years the same pair nest together, how long each bird lives, and where the birds move to in the winter.
This past year we monitored an active Northern Pygmy-Owl nest. This was the 18th active nest that we have monitored since 1998. The adult birds delivered mice, voles, chipmunks and a few small birds to their hungry owlets. The owl fledged two owlets.
Members of CARRI take care of injured and orphaned birds. In 2022, we received two Great Horned Owls, a Red-tailed Hawk, two Violet-Green Swallows, a Tree Swallow, and two Broad-tailed Hummingbirds. We would like to thank Dr. Jeff Fish, Dr. Bryant, and the members of the Animal Medical Center for their assistance with the birds.
Each fall since 2011, we have operated a banding station in RMNP where we study the movements of Boreal Owls and Northern Saw-whet Owls. We place a series of nets and broadcast the call of the owls using Bluetooth speakers. As the owls fly around the speakers, they land in the nets and are captured. We have live cameras on each net allowing us to see exactly when each bird lands in a net. This way we can extract the birds as soon as they are captured.
Once the bird is in hand it is banded, measured, weighed, aged, sexed, and released. This past year we captured and banded seven Boreal Owls and 14 Northern Saw-whet Owls. Many of the birds captured were young of the year. Over the years we have captured and banded more than 300 Northern Saw-whet Owls and 24 Boreal Owls. We captured an owl in Estes Park in 2012, that was recaptured live and released in Eastern Pennsylvania in 2016. Our oldest Northern Saw-whet Owl lived to be four years old.
This past year was the 24th year that we have banded birds at the YMCA of the Rockies. As of this year, we have captured and banded more than 14,000 individual birds of 97 different species. We also operate a banding station at the High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC) in Loveland. We have operated this station for two years.
This past summer, our director Scott Rashid published his 7th book Small Mountain Owls Revised and Expanded Edition. The 335-page hardcover book documents his more than 20 years researching Northern Pygmy-Owls, Northern Saw-whet Owls, Flammulated Owls and Boreal Owls. Within the pages of the book, you will learn about the natural history of these four small owls. The book is filled with more than 350 photographs, painting and drawings by Scott that helps the reader understand the information within the book. It is a must have for any bird enthusiast. You can get the book from the CARRI website or on Amazon.
CARRI accepts donations to help in the protection and care of the birds. Donations may be sent to CARRI, P.O. Box 3351, Estes Park, CO. 80517.
Go to to learn more about this amazing organization.
Interested in back issues of Estes Park News? Check out our Virtual E-Edition Archives and enjoy some of our previous content.
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