In Your Backyard: Bird Banding

Black-capped Chickadee. Photo by Josh Seibel.

By Jacy Swiggum, Lakeshore Nature Preserve Natural Areas Assistant

Volunteer extracting a Yellow Warbler from the mist net. Photo by Lesley Haven.
Volunteer extracting a Yellow Warbler from the mist net. Photo by Lesley Haven.

The Biocore Prairie Bird Observatory was founded within the Lakeshore Nature Preserve in 2001 by Dr. Mara McDonald. Over the years, many bird banding operations have been held at this location.

You may be asking, what exactly is bird banding? Bird banding involves the use of mist nets to catch birds. Trained bird banders identify and carefully collect data on the birds, mark them with an identifying metal or plastic leg band, then release them. Individual birds can be identified by these unique bands. This process helps scientists follow changes in bird species composition and movement along with providing a unique and meaningful research and teaching resource.

Those who volunteer at the bird observatory are taught species identification, mist-netting procedures, handling techniques, and basic banding procedures. Volunteers have the opportunity to see birds up close and learn about how their natural environment can affect things such as migration patterns and biological success.

Are you interested in learning more about bird banding and how it is used within the Preserve? Check out the Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve Bird Banding Field Trip, details below:

Bird Banding in the Preserve (Aug. 10 2019, Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.)

Volunteers at the banding station. Photo by Lesley Haven.
Volunteers at the banding station. Photo by Lesley Haven.

Join Jackie Sandberg, Wildlife Rehabilitation Training Coordinator for the Dane County Humane Society to learn about bird banding, how banding helps expand our knowledge of birds, and our efforts towards conservation. Stop by any time between the listed hours. Park at UW parking lot 129 at the entrance to Picnic Point (2004 University Bay Drive) and walk up to the Biocore Prairie above the Eagle Heights Gardens. Leader: Jackie Sandberg (608-838-0413, jsandberg@giveshelter.org).