SANDY HOOK – Bird banding can be used to study the relative health of migratory bird populations. The Monmouth County Audubon Society will tour a banding station on Sandy Hook on Nov. 9 to learn about the process.
The group will meet at 8 a.m. on Sandy Hook near “K” lot, the most northerly parking lot.
The peninsula of Sandy Hook attracts migrating raptors, shorebirds and songbirds due to the abundance of food and areas of suitable habitat. This makes Sandy Hook an excellent place to study many species of migrating birds in a limited area.
Bird bander and field biologist Tom Brown began banding at Sandy Hook in Spring 2009, primarily to study the importance of Sandy Hook as a stopover site for migratory land birds, but also to study the importance of Sandy Hook as a wintering site for migrant land birds that historically have a more southerly wintering range. Nets are run in the spring and fall. From mid-October through late early December banding takes place near “K” lot. Part of the project includes extracting one tail feather from Gray Catbirds and Hermit Thrush. These feathers are sent to a lab in California for stable isotope analysis to identify particular geographic locations where these birds spent their summer. Banding these birds also allows us to identify the age of the birds that are overwintering on Sandy Hook.
In addition to banding at Sandy Hook,Brown supervises four MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding sites, three on Staten Island, and one at Fort Tilden in Queens, N.Y.
This is a unique opportunity to watch the banding process, and hopefully the experience will provide insight into the methods and importance of monitoring bird populations, including their health and movement.
The trip is open to both members and nonmembers of the Monmouth County Audubon Society, and participation is free. Advance registration is not required. Participants should bring binoculars and dress appropriately for the weather. Pets are not permitted.