The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Wing'd XXXVI: Bird Banding is Back

Posted by | June 1, 2016

Bird-banding session by Biodiversity Research Institute, May 31, 2016.

Yesterday, the picnic table under the copper beech was covered with clipboards, bird books, and banding supplies for the first time since last summer. Around the table, a bird-banding team kept busy with catbirds, veeries, waxwings, and other species brought up from the nets. This long-term monitoring and research project has entered its 29th year (28th on the Laudholm campus) — but it's got a new look for 2016.

A New Era

After the loss of the irreplaceable June Ficker, we weren't sure that our bird-banding program would continue this summer. But a scientist's desire for an unbroken data set prompted Chuck Lubelczyk to start looking for another permittee to take on the Wells Reserve as a research site. Chuck, June's collaborator and frequent companion on banding days, has a particular interest in the ticks that attach themselves to birds. The ticks that June gently removed from birds and placed into vials have been fueling science at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute's Lyme & Vector-borne Disease Laboratory (MMCRI) for nearly three decades.

Chuck found receptive ears at the Biodiversity Research Institute, a nonprofit ecological research group based in Portland. He connected with Patrick Keenan, BRI's outreach director, who agreed to lead the effort.

Patrick is a Colby College graduate with a master's degree from the University of Wyoming, where he studied red crossbills. Since returning to Maine in 2007, he has worked as a wildlife biologist and educator. In 2011, he helped establish a bird-banding station at River Point Conservation Area in West Falmouth that serves as a local hub for bird monitoring, education, and collaborative research.

Patrick and Chuck will bring assistants from their own institutes while welcoming back long-standing volunteers from York County Audubon and the Wells Reserve community. They do not foresee any significant changes to the banding program's studies in the near term; reports to the Bird Banding Laboratory, Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS), and MMCRI will continue.

Bird-banding Demonstrations

Bird-banding sessions will occur on Tuesday mornings from June 14 through August 30 (except 8/16). Look for the crew under the copper beech or, if the weather is iffy, in the big barn.

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