MAPS Bird Banding Returns To Audubon Community Nature Center

Audubon Community Nature Center is participating again this summer in a continent-wide bird study, giving you several opportunities to observe this fascinating bird banding. After being fitted with an identification band, measured, and weighed, birds like these American Goldfinches will be released back to the wild.

The public is invited to join research ornithologists as they capture, band, and release birds, recording information for science.

Audubon Community Nature Center has been doing bird banding demonstrations in the spring since 2007. This is the sixth year it has hosted the MAPS research program that is specifically timed to target breeding birds.

MAPS stands for Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship. The MAPS Program is made up of a continent-wide network of hundreds of mist netting stations that capture and band birds for study. The data gathered during these sessions help bird scientists understand more about longevity, breeding, and movement of bird species in our region and beyond.

The banding is done by ornithologist Nathan Weyandt, a fisheries biologist aide for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The public is invited to observe on Saturdays, June 3, 10, and 24, July 1, 15 and 22, and Aug. 5.

The protocol requires opening the nets at dawn and monitoring birds for six hours, so while the actual times vary, the hours are roughly between 6 a.m. and noon. Visitors are advised to dress for the weather, and wear boots or shoes that can get muddy. If the weather is particularly foul and could endanger birds caught in the nets, banding will be rescheduled. Those attending are asked to leave dogs at home.

Species that may be banded include Tufted Titmice, Baltimore Orioles, House Wrens, Gray Catbirds, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Swamp Sparrows, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, and many more.

Those attending may want to bring binoculars and a camera.

Weyandt obtained his bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Penn State in 2014. Since 2013, he has banded at Audubon Community Nature Center for the spring banding program and MAPS. Weyandt banded in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Maine, and American Samoa, where he ran a tropical MAPS station looking at feather molting patterns of island birds. He has banded 1,900 birds of 99 species.

For more information on the national MAPS program, visit birdpop.org/pages/ maps.php.

This opportunity is free, but donations are appreciated. Reservations are not required.

Audubon Community Nature Center is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. The program is in the pavilion located on the west side of the property. The gate at the west entrance is unlocked on bird banding days and a sign is placed at the road. The Nature Center building, housing the Blue Heron Gift Shop and exhibits of live fish, reptiles, amphibians and more, is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Outdoors, the arboretum, gardens, picnic area, more than five miles of trails, and exhibit of Liberty the Bald Eagle are open dawn to dusk daily. To learn more, call 569-2345 or visit auduboncnc.org.

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