Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Scientists to Study the Birds Next Door...

A new bird banding research project is taking place at Flag Ponds Nature Park this June and July; data will be gathered to help determine the impact of changes in sea level and major weather events on the breeding bird population.

The Monitoring Avian Productivity and Success (MAPS) Program gathers data on the ecology, conservation and management of North American land bird populations. Ms. Jo Lutmerding, the volunteer MAPS coordinator for the Flag Ponds station, is interested in the response of breeding birds to environmental changes.

Birds are banded with thin, lightweight aluminum bands. The bands include a unique number that is recorded, along with the species, weight, wing length, sex, age, body fat and feather wear of the bird. The information is entered into a national database so recovery of a banded bird can be documented.

The project will occur about every 10 days and began June 2, starting at dawn and ending before noon. Volunteers and visitors will be allowed to participate in the program in limited numbers. Volunteers will carry equipment, record data, survey the area for other birds and take photographs. Contact the office for details and to request a spot on the study day.

Remaining research dates include June 13, 23 and 30; and July 10, 21 and 31. The North Ridge Trail will be closed to dog walkers until noon on those dates to minimize disturbance of the study site.

The MAPS program is coordinated by the Institute for Bird Populations, a California nonprofit corporation dedicated to research on the abundance, distribution and ecology of birds, as well as facilitating scientifically informed conservation of birds and their habitats.
Flag Ponds Park, which I have mentioned before, is located on the Chesapeake Bay between my community, Long Beach, and Location X, my favorite fishing hole.  If you don't have a beach of your own to visit (as we do), Flag Ponds is one of the rare public parks on the Bay where you can have public access. It's a pretty decent place to hunt for fossils, fish, or wade in the Bay (you have to go a long way out to find much depth).  It also has some nice nature trails through the ponds there, and the wood up on the cliff.

So, if you're interested in bird banding, and want to visit a nice site to do it, this is your opportunity

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