Bird Banding - Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship


Birds are an excellent gauge of ecosystem health. When birds disappear from an environment it can be a sign of ecosystem degradation. Landbird populations are facing a growing number of environmental threats of ever-increasing severity. In order to plan effective conservation strategies, it is important to understand basic population trends. Data on avian productivity and survivorship help researchers evaluate the factors that contribute to population change. We use a monitoring protocol developed by the Institute for Bird Populations called Monitoring Avian Productivity & Survivorship (MAPS) to systematically capture landbirds in mist nets. Each captured bird is measured, banded and released on site.

The Teton Research Institute of Teton Science Schools began banding birds in 1991 and currently operates five MAPS stations in the Jackson Hole area. During this time we have banded more than 10,000 birds belonging to 73 different species. Data are processed internally, submitted to MAPS, the Institute for Bird Populations and the U.S. Geological Survey at the end of each field season. Commonly captured species include Yellow warbler (Dendroica petechia), American robin (Turdus migratorius), Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) and Song sparrow (Melospiza melodia). Results of our work provide insight into avian population trends, songbird health and ecosystem function. These data are also incorporated in our research on songbird responses to human development.

Environmental education is a significant component of our banding program with over 500 participants of all ages visiting 2 of our 5 stations each season. Participants learn about the entire banding procedure, beginning with watching staff extract birds from mist-nets and process them, and ending with participants releasing birds. Hands-on demonstrations through Teton Science Schools' Bird Banding and Breakfasts facilitate a better understanding of field science and applications of avian monitoring data.

Download 2013 Annual Report - Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship in Jackson Hole

This project is being supported by a grant from Wyoming Wildlife – The Foundation.




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