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Observe MAPS bird banding at Audubon coming up this June and July

Submitted Photo Pictured are two flycatchers, “Two Birds on Perch,” by Olean photographer Paul G. Beretta, who was an adult winner in an Audubon Nature Photography Contest. For information on submitting to and voting for the 2022 Photo Contest, visit GoGoPhotoContest.com/ACNCPhotoContest.

The public has 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 mornings, June 25 and July 2, 16, 23, 30, area residents can drop in anytime between 6 a.m. and noon to learn exactly how bird banding is done. Children are welcome to visit, and experienced participants might suggest those attending come 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.

Those interested can watch how they fit them with identification bands, measure and weigh and then release them to go on with their lives. Some visitors might even be selected to help release a bird.

Data gathered during these MAPS sessions help bird scientists understand more about bird species in our 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 if they have them. 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.

Demonstrations are offered to the public free of charge, but donations are appreciated and can be made through “Upcoming Programs” at AudubonCNC.org. Reservations are not required. No dogs, please.

Visit Audubon’s 600-acre nature preserve and see Liberty, the non-releasable Bald Eagle, enjoy the native tree arboretum, gardens, picnic area, natural play space and hike the six miles of trails dawn until dusk daily for free.

The three-story Nature Center building houses interactive displays, the 2021 Nature Photography Contest winners, and a collection of live animals including the Hellbender exhibit. Nature Center members and SNAP/EBT cardholders have free building admission daily. Building admission is also free every Sunday for non-Nature Center members. Face coverings are strongly recommended for inside the Nature Center building.

To learn more about Audubon and its programs, call 716-569-2345, find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook, or visit AudubonCNC.org. Entries to the 2022 Nature Photography Contest and votes for the Community Choice winners can be made at GoGoPhotoContest.com/ACNCPhotoContest.

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