"The main purpose is to see how long they live and their survival rates," he said. "It's interesting to see where they go. I have banded some here that have been caught in Canada and Michigan."
They are fascinating, tiny and elusive. A saw-whet owl weighs about two and half ounces and is about seven inches tall.
While the bulk of their nesting is in the Boreal Forest of Canada, it has been discovered that some breed in West Virginia's higher elevations, he said.
"These guys are interesting," he said. "They are small and secretive. They are nocturnal. They are migrating here more than we thought."
They are also helpful.
"All birds of prey or raptors are beneficial," he said. "They manage the rodent population. Without owls and hawks, the rodent population would be a lot more."
He will continue to monitor this year's migration of the saw-whet owl through West Virginia.
"It's been a heavy migration year north of me," he said. "We think a lot might be hunkered down and might migrate later. We'll see when the migration ends."
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.