Two Opportunities Remain To Observe National Bird Banding

There are two more opportunities to observe bird banding at the Audubon Community Nature Center this summer, on Saturday mornings, July 20, and Aug. 3.

Those attending are likely to see more the earlier they come because of the cooler weather. Bird banding viewing is open from 6 a.m. to noon. Those attending can walk side-by-side with ornithologists to learn how they capture birds in mist nets, weigh, measure and identify them, fit them with a uniquely numbered band and then set them free. If the weather is too harsh for the safety of the birds, the nets will not be open and an alternate date will be chosen.

This is the ninth year that Audubon has participated in the continent-wide Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship bird banding program.

Data gathered during these sessions help bird scientists understand more about bird species locally and beyond. Since 1989, more than 1,200 MAPS stations in nearly every state and Canadian province have collected more than two million bird capture records. For more information on the national MAPS program, visit birdpop.org/pages/maps.php.

Those attending are welcome to take photos, but are asked not to bring dogs or other pets.

Emily Perlock, wildlife tech instructor at Penn State DuBois, oversees the research. Perlock has been banding birds since 2007, holds a Master Banding permit, and is a certified bander through the North American Banding Council.

While not necessary to enjoy the demonstrations, those attending may want to bring bird guides and binoculars if they have them and remember to dress for the weather. Plan to listen closely to the scientists and follow their instructions carefully, as safety of the birds is the priority.

To observe, go to the picnic pavilion on the west side of the Audubon property at 1600 Riverside Road, just east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. Look for a “Bird Banding” sign at the entrance closer to Route 62. Drive right in and park on the grass.

Bird banding is supported in part by the Northern Allegheny Conservation Association.

The programs are free, but donations are appreciated.