The public is invited to join research ornithologists as they capture, band and release birds, recording information for science.
The Audubon Center & Sanctuary has been doing bird banding demonstrations in the spring since 2007. This is the fourth 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 helps ornithologists understand more about longevity, breeding, and movement of bird species in our region and beyond.
The public is welcome to observe ornithologist Emily Thomas band birds at the Audubon Sanctuary on the mornings of Friday, June 13; Saturday, June 21; Wednesday, July 2; Saturday, July 12; Friday, July 25; and Saturday, Aug. 2. The bird bandings will take place from roughly 7-11 a.m. Actual times may vary; the protocol requires opening the nets at dawn and monitoring birds for six hours.
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 more.
Thomas has worked as a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station's Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Irvine, Pa., and is employed as an instructor in wildlife technology at Penn State DuBois. She has banded more than 4,000 birds.
Viewing bird banding is free, but donations are appreciated. Reservations are not required. 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. The Health Department recommends the use of insect repellent to avoid insect bites; a repellent containing a 25 percent concentration of DEET is reported to last five to eight hours.
Those attending may also want to bring binoculars and a camera.
Bird banding at Jamestown Audubon is made possible in part in memory of Fritz Overs by his friends and family. It is also supported by the Northern Allegheny Conservation Association of Warren, Pa.
For more information on the national MAPS program, visit www.birdpop.org/maps.htm.
The Audubon Center & Sanctuary 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.
For more information, call 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org. Also check the website for updates and date changes caused by foul weather.