To conserve migratory birds, we need to understand the health of both populations and individual birds. Bird banding—the act of safely catching, measuring, and marking birds with a light leg band—provides crucial information on productivity, survival, and population sizes for conserving North American birds. Audubon Rockies operates four banding stations that operate under cooperation with the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program. MAPS is a continent-wide bird population monitoring program that provides critical demographic information on terrestrial birds. The MAPS program is endorsed by both the Monitoring Working Group of the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Program and the Biological Resources Division as an important tool for monitoring birds.
Each year we band, determine age and gender, and assess the health of birds at four distinct locations in Wyoming. We have one station in northeast Wyoming within Keyhole State Park, two stations near Casper including Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park, and one station near Laramie at the private Lindsay Ranch. Banding starts the last week of May and ends in early August.
Volunteers play a critical role in making our banding stations possible. Regardless of your experience, we have roles for everyone, including measuring birds, extracting them from mist nets, checking the nets, recording data, monitoring the birds around our nets, educating public visitors, and supporting logistics. This is an excellent opportunity for aspiring wildlife professionals to gain hands-on field experience, and for all bird-lovers to make friends and see birds like never before.
No experience is necessary and there is no minimum time requirement, but committing to at least 3 six-hour days between May and August is ideal. Training usually occurs prior to the first banding date and provides volunteers with the skills required to aid in the operation of the station and the collection of data.