Breeding Bird Studies
Biocore Prairie Bird Observatory
2019 BANDING SEASON
Happy spring, everyone, and welcome back to the Biocore Prairie Bird Banding Observatory!
This year, we have the opportunity to join the Midwest Migration Network (protocols attached), and that will require us to begin earlier in the morning (at or around sunrise). As a level 2 station, we will need to perform point counts in three spots around our net site (150 meters apart), and put up a minimum of 5 mist nest (we already put up six)! – Jaqueline Sandberg
Jackie is the Biocore Prairie Bird Banding Observatory Volunteer Coordinator. See below.
To be added to the weekly mailing list of of the Observatory, with details on banding conditions and weather, please email Jackie Sandberg.
2019-05-11. We caught 13 different species including Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, Palm Warbler, Brown-headed Cowbird, American Goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren, and a Golden-winged/Blue-winged Warbler hybrid (Brewster's)!! That last one was a rarity, and it was an exciting find.
2019-05-04. We hosted an NRF field trip led by Dr. Mark Berres and myself - it was a wonderful success. We spent time talking about the history of Biocore Prairie, the significance of banding operations, and what species are commonly found at the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. We spotted many birds on our walk around the site and into the gardens with highlights including Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Baltimore Oriole, Sandhill Cranes, Brown Thrasher, and many more. We caught 7 species of birds in the mist nets including American Goldfinch, Tree Swallow, Song Sparrow, Palm Warbler, and Brown-headed Cowbird.
2018-5-5. On the first day of banding this season a great group of volunteers volunteers came out! It was super windy, but we still caught 5 different species of birds: Field Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, and White-breasted Nuthatch. Two of the birds were mark-recaptures, and leader Jackie Sandberg hopes to figure out if they were banded at the prairie by our group or by someone different.
2018 Season officially opens when morning temperatures reach 50°F
On our first day, we'll look for any and all volunteers to help set up nets, inventory equipment, and band birds that are coming through on the spring migration. Feel free to forward this message to groups or individuals to may be interested in volunteering! This year, we estimate banding on at least two Saturdays per month, and we've already saved a date for our Friends of Lakeshore Nature Preserve Field Trip day on Saturday, August 5th. Members of the public will be coming through that day to hear the history of the Observatory and learn about the process of banding birds.
Biocore Prairie Bird Observatory
The Observatory, originally founded in 2001 by Dr. Mara McDonald (1947-2016), is an all-volunteer bird banding operation that monitors bird populations in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. Banding offers a wonderful opportunity for people to see birds up close, learn about their migration and nesting patterns, and understand how natural areas enhance their biological success. Volunteers of all skill levels are welcome to attend banding operations on Saturday mornings from 7 am - 12 pm between the months of April and September each year (weather and schedules permitting). Volunteers are taught species identification, mist-netting procedures, handling techniques, and basic banding procedures. We are currently entering our 17th year in operation, and we are excited to have you with us!
Banding requires significant time and experience by those who are licensed and authorized to capture wild birds. At the Observatory, a master bander supervises and trains volunteers, including UW students, staff, retirees, and members of the Madison community. Each bird is caught in a mist net, carefully removed, measured (weight, age, sex, and a variety of other measurements), banded and released. Between 2001 and 2006, more than 1394 birds of 70+ species were netted. About 60 million birds, representing hundreds of species, have been banded in North America since 1904, and about 4 million bands have been recovered and reported. Data from banded birds are submitted to and managed by The North American Bird Banding Program which is under the general direction of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service.
Objectives of the Project
1. To follow changes in the bird species composition with changes in prairie restoration.
2. To provide a research and teaching resource for natural history studies utilizing live animals.
3. To collaborate with Dr. Janet Huie, Carthage College, on collection of ticks associated with Lyme Disease.
The Biocore Prairie Bird Banding Observatory in Madison, Wisconsin is currently managed by three volunteer coordinators, and we would like to take this time to introduce ourselves:
2018 Biocore Banding Observatory Annual Report
Banding staff and volunteers
Dr. Mark Berres (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) has resumed the director position at the Biocore Prairie Bird Banding Observatory. Mark received a B.S. in Genetics and Cellular Biology at the University of Minnesota - St. Paul in 1994 and a PhD in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003. After completing a postdoc in Genomic Sciences at UW-Madison, he accepted a faculty position there and taught Ornithology, Birds of Southern Wisconsin and Avian Physiology from 2005 to 2016. Mark now conducts bioinformatics research in the Advanced Genome Analysis Resource Center at the UW-Madison Biotechnology Center. His ornithological experience dates back to 1990, including international and domestic work with passerines and non-passerines, especially manakins, hummingbirds and Red Jungle Fowl. He possesses the Observatory's primary USGS Master Banding Permit.
Jackie Sandberg (M.S. CBSD) is the Wildlife Rehabilitation Training Coordinator at Dane County Humane Society's Wildlife Center. Jackie began volunteering at the Observatory with Dr. Mara McDonald in 2010 and has held a bird banding sub-permit since 2013. She received her BS in Zoology and certificate in Environmental Studies in 2011 and and a Master's of Science in conservation biology and sustainable development in 2016, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her M.S. thesis studied the survival rates and home range of rehabilitated and released Red-tailed Hawks. She holds additional advanced state and federal wildlife rehabilitation licenses.
Soon to be sub-permitted:
Yushi Oguchi (M.S., Michigan State University) is a current PhD student at University of Wisconsin-Madison studying avian ecophysiology from molecular perspectives. Yushi received his B.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011 and his M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University in 2015. Yushi was a fellow subpermittee under Dr. Mara McDonald at Biocore Prairie during his undergraduate degree, and has since then worked with other master bird banders. He has published multiple academic papers on his work with Swainson's Thrush, Gray Catbirds, and English House Sparrows. Yushi has regularly attended the Observatory's operations upon his return to UW-Madison for his PhD.
Josh Seibel (M.S. candidate, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a fall 2019 MS student at University of Wisconsin-Madison studying GIS and cartography. Josh received his B.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013, and during his time as a student, he was a fellow bird banding volunteer under Dr. Mara McDonald at Biocore Prairie. Since graduation, he's worked on several bird research and management projects for USFWS including a three-year term working with endangered Piping Plover, Least Tern, American Oystercatcher, and Saltmarsh Sparrow. Josh spend time in Grand Teton monitoring sage grouse and raptors, and he volunteered for the Teton Raptor Rehabilitation Center (which included a MAPS banding station).
Volunteers usually band birds at least one morning each weekend, weather permitting (above 50 degrees, no precipitation), from late March-April through early November. A master bander, supervises and trains volunteers, including UW students, staff, retirees, and members of the Madison community. Each bird is caught in a mist net, carefully removed, measured (weight, age, sex, and a variety of other measurements), banded and released.
Past and present volunteers include Pat Becker, Richard Clark, Katie Fitzmeier, Rachel Hart, Kendra Johnson, Anjan Kaushik, Anne Lacy, Roma Lenehan, Jeff Lorch, Holly McEntee, Sarah Pabian, Gaylord Plummer, Nolan Pope, Wilma Ross, Dietrich Schaaf, Jerry Simmons, and many others.
Between 2001 and 2006, more than 1394 birds of 70+ species were netted. The most commonly banded species were Song Sparrow (184; 15.2 % recapture rate), White-throated Sparrow (158; 7.6%), Gray Catbird (117; 12.8%), American Goldfinch (109; 3.7%) and Chipping Sparrows (63; 1.6%). Fourteen species of warblers, including Connecticut and Mourning, and 11 species of Sparrows, including Lincoln’s (20), White-crowned (4) and Fox (4) were banded.