It is said that “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” and this was certainly the case at North Branch Nature Center, where bird banding was formally launched in the summer of 2011. In bird banding, songbirds are captured in mist nets, carefully removed, identified and measured, and "tagged" with a band before being released. Bands look like little metal bracelets the birds wear on their ankles to help identify them if they are recaptured in the future.
Blog posts about songbird banding:
In the fall of 2013, NBNC joined a network of scientists to help better understand the migration of the Northern Saw-whet Owl. NBNC piloted two banding stations this fall on the Nature Center’s property in Montpelier and in Shelburne, VT. Why band migratory Northern Saw-whet Owls? It wasn't until 1906 that scientists even knew that these owls were migratory and today much of their behavior is still a mystery. With banding stations throughout their range, however, scientists can gain insights into the timing of their migration, their migratory routes and overwintering areas, and their population cycles and trends. We are excited to be able to contribute to this effort to better understand this secretive, seldom-seen species.
The public has also been invited to observe banding both in Montpelier and Shelburne. To date, over 150 people have visited the banding stations to learn about and see owls. In between owls, guests have a chance to experience the outdoors after dark. Wildlife abounds in the night forest, and we’ve seen many wonderful creatures on our late nights outside: skunk, opossum, barred owl, coyote, gray treefrog, porcupine, beaver… and shooting stars. And most importantly, visitors get a chance to see science in action and deepen their understanding of and appreciation for the natural world.
Blog posts about owl banding:
If you are interested in observing or participating in either owl banding or songbird banding, please contact Larry.
Branch Nature Center