Come observe bird banding on Saturdays at Audubon
JAMESTOWN — Bird banding is an age-old technique used to discover details about the behaviors of birds.
On Saturday mornings from April 29 through May 20, all are invited to join ornithologists at the Audubon Community Nature Center to observe them bird banding.
Dr. Scott Stoleson and Don Watts, who have both federal and state permits as well as a great deal of training and experience, capture the birds in “mist” nets, so-called because they are so fine they are almost like mist.
Drop in any time between 7 and 11 a.m. to learn exactly how this is done and why. Come alone or bring the kids to view this amazing process. 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.
Watch how these bird scientists capture migrating and resident birds, fit them with identification bands, measure and weigh and then release them to go on with their lives. Someone might be selected to help release a bird.
Dr. Stoleson, from Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania, is a professional ornithologist who has published over 60 scientific papers on the ecology and conservation of birds. He has conducted avian research in the western United States, Central and South America, and has led natural history tours to the Caribbean and Latin America. He is currently the Research Wildlife Biologist at the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station lab in Irvine, Pennsylvania, and a Research Associate of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Stoleson holds a Master Banding permit and has 38 years of bird banding experience.
Warren County, Pennsylvania, native Don Watts has been an active outdoorsman since he was a teenager hunting in the Allegheny Forest area. A Master Bird Bander, he monitors the American Kestrel Nestbox trail in Warren County. His numerous birding activities include being Wildlife Technician for the United States Forest Service in the study of the Cerulean Warbler, monitoring of sensitive species, and conducting bird surveys; a participant in the first Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas and regional coordinator in the second; and a participant in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service breeding bird surveys for more than 20 years. Watts is past president of Roger Tory Peterson Ornithological Club and Coordinator of the Warren Christmas Bird Count.
While not necessary to enjoy the demonstrations, attendees may want to bring bird guides and binoculars if they have them, and remember to dress for the weather. Plan to listen closely to the scientists and follow their instructions carefully, as safety of the birds is the priority.
Come to the picnic 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 right in and park on the grass.
The Nature Center offers these demonstrations to the public free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.
Nature Center building and Blue Heron Gift Shop hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, Sundays 1 to 4:30 p.m. The trails and Bald Eagle viewing are open dawn to dusk. To learn more, call 569-2345 during business hours or visit auduboncnc.org.