Gene Sattler

Gene Sattler holds a northern saw-whet owl. Sattler is the featured speaker for Thursday's Southside Bird Club meeting.

Special to the Register & Bee

The Southside Bird Club will host Gene Sattler for a program on owls of Virginia.

The gathering, open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Fairview United Methodist Church located at 1013 Westover Drive.

Owls are fascinating yet mysterious because of their secretive nocturnal habits.

Each has unique habits but a common allure. The screech, great horned and barred owls are more familiar permanent residents. The rarer barn, long-eared, short-eared and saw-whet that migrate — to some degree — can be found in the state yearly. However, the elusive, nomadic snowy shows up only occasionally.

Sattler will review the natural history of eight species of owls found in Virginia, with some details shared regarding the banding project he has been running in the Lynchburg area since 2002 on northern saw-whet owls.

Sattler holds a Master of Science degree in zoology from Ohio State University, where his thesis examined the reliability of hawk migration counts.

His doctorate degree in zoology is from the University of Maryland and he did his dissertation research through the Smithsonian Institution’s Laboratory of Molecular Systematics examining hybridization dynamics between black-capped and Carolina chickadees in Virginia and West Virginia. Since 1996 he has taught biology at Liberty University in Lynchburg including general zoology, ornithology, animal behavior and vertebrate natural history. He also conducts research on fall hawk migration and northern saw-whet owl migration through the Piedmont of central Virginia.

He is president of the Lynchburg Bird Club.

The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information on Southside Bird Club or upcoming programs, contact Vickie Fuquay at

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