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Audubon bird banding demonstrations set

Area residents can observe bird scientists in action and birds up close at MAPS bird banding demonstrations on numerous Saturday mornings through the end of July at Audubon Community Nature Center. This picture of a Flicker being released after it was banded was entered by D. Arlene Bonnett of Jamestown in the 2017 Audubon Nature Photography Contest. To see other entries and learn about the 2021 Contest, visit ACNCPhotoContest.com.

Area residents have a number of opportunities this summer to observe ornithologists band birds at Audubon Community Nature Center as part of the MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) program.

On Saturday, June 26, as well as four Saturdays in July — July 3, 10, 24 and 31 — area residents can drop in anytime between 6 a.m. and noon to learn exactly how bird banding is done.

Those attending can come on their own or bring children to view the process, and experienced participants might suggest newcomers arrive earlier rather than later.

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.

The bird scientists capture migrating and resident birds in “mist” nets, so-called because they are so fine they are almost like mist. Onlookers can watch how they fit them with identification bands, measure and weigh and then release them to go on with their lives. Some of those looking on might even be selected to help release a bird.

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

While not necessary to enjoy the demonstrations, those attending may want to bring bird guides and binoculars. Remember to dress for the weather and bring face coverings. Bug spray would be a good idea as well.

Plan to listen closely to the scientists and follow their instructions carefully, as safety of the birds is the priority.

Come to the 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 in and park on the grass along the edge of the trees. Or park at the Nature Center parking lot and walk to trail over to the banding site, especially if it has been raining.

Leading the work is Emily Thomas Perlock, who has banded more than 4,000 birds since learning how to band in 2005. Perlock worked as a wildlife biologist for the United States Forest Service and is now an instructor in Wildlife Technology at Penn State DuBois.

She holds a Master Banding permit and is a certified bird bander by the North American Banding Council. She established a banding program at The Arboretum at Penn State and has participated in banding programs for Audubon and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Perlock holds an Associate’s degree in Wildlife Technology from Penn State DuBois and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Penn State.

Audubon offers these demonstrations to the public free of charge, but donations are appreciated. No reservations are required. Audubon officials request no dogs at bird banding demonstrations.

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