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Bird Banding

WVWA’s Bird Conservation Initiative included the establishment and operation of a MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station on Crossways Preserve in the summer of 2015. The MAPS project was created by the Institute for Bird Populations – a nonprofit based in Point Reyes, California, dedicated to research on the abundance, distribution, and ecology of birds, in response to bird population declines. The project seeks to understand the factors that influence their survival and productivity (the main drivers of population change) over time.

WVWA will not only be collecting helpful information about our own land and how our management strategies influence the birds dependent upon it, but we will be contributing to a large-scale, continent-wide research project to help monitor bird populations for years to come.

The pilot season of the MAPS banding station project at Crossways was successfully operated from May 21st to August 5, 2015. Over the course of 8 days in the field, a total of 154 birds were caught across 22 species. Season highlights included a Brown Thrasher, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and a Barn Swallow.

Over 30 visitors and volunteers were welcomed to the station, to learn about banding and avian research, and of course, to see birds up close!

Experience the 2015 Bird Banding season through Margaret Rohde's blog
Birds of WVWA

Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) at Crossways Preserve
2015 Summary Report

The banding season will take place each year at Crossways Preserve, from mid-May to early August. 


What is bird banding?

Bird banding involves the safe capture of wild birds in nylon nets called “mist nets,” and recording valuable information about each bird, including species, sex, age, wing length, amount of stored fat, and weight. A small metal band issued by the U.S Geological Survey with a unique, identifying number is placed on each bird’s leg, giving each bird an identity, and allowing researchers to record information about the same bird more than once if, and when, it is recaptured - either where it was first caught, or thousands of miles away, and possibly for years to come.

Why should we band birds?

Bird banding helps us monitor populations, determine their longevity, understand how land use and management might be influencing their survival and productivity, and make more informed decisions on how best to manage and conserve the land they need to live and thrive. Banding makes year-to-year comparisons possible, such as: arrival and departure dates for migrating species; breeding dates for resident species; whether a species is declining or increasing; and at what stage of life bird populations are most susceptible. These data can effectively help us understand the state of the earth’s environs as a whole, because birds serve as strong indicators of how environmental factors might be (and likely are) influencing all forms of wildlife.