Bird Banding at Birdcraft
Bird banding is one of the most useful research methods in ornithology. Banding is a universal technique to collect data on the movement, survival, and behavior of birds. Connecticut Audubon Society has operated a bird banding station at Birdcraft Sanctuary since the 1970s. Volunteers, licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have documented more that 18,000 birds here.
The banders use mist nets to capture birds. When a bird is caught, a ring of appropriate size (usually made of aluminum or other lightweight material) is attached to the bird’s leg. On the ring is a unique number as well as a contact address. The bander records the number, where and when each bird is banded, how old it is, and what sex it is, and sends this data to a national Bird Banding Laboratory.
Once the data is collected, the bird is released, unharmed. If the bird is recovered, either dead or alive, at a future time, the information is recorded, and the data is sent to the original bander and the Bird Banding Laboratory.
Individual identification of birds makes it possible to study bird migration, and their behavior, social structure, life-span, survival rate, reproductive success, and population growth. Scientists can also determine where specific birds nest and spend the winter, whether species populations are rising or falling, and other details of their lives.
The Birdcraft Bird Banding station operations on select weekdays during migration, in the fall and spring.
The public is welcome to walk at the Birdcraft Sanctuary but please do not tamper with the nets.