Public bird banding sessions return to Ft. Morgan April 16-20
Public bird banding returns to historic Fort Morgan April 16-20, courtesy of Birmingham Audubon and its partners. The public is invited to join the Audubon team on April 16 from noon – 3 p.m., April 17-19 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and April 20 from 8 a.m. to noon.
Reviving the bird banding program originally championed by the late Bob Sargent and his wife, Martha, this event provides an invaluable look at spring migrants traveling across the Coastal Alabama section of the Mississippi Flyway. Throughout the week, participants enjoy unparalleled access to the researchers and the work, with up-close-and-personal views of some amazing birds.
In 2018, guest and staff researchers banded a total of 562 birds, with an additional 74 recaptures that were banded in previous years. That included 41 different species, with the top five most common including Indigo Buntings, Gray Catbirds, Wood Thrushes, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and Red-eyed Vireos. April 20, 2018 was the busiest day, with a total of 257 birds banded and a total of 27 species.
“We’re excited to see what migrants will be passing through in 2019! Remember to bring water, bug spray, sunscreen, and perhaps an outdoor chair; restrooms and concessions are available next to the ferry, and all ages are welcome to attend,’’ said Sarah Randolph, Outreach & Communications Director for Birmingham Audubon.
While the Coastal Alabama Bird Banding Project is free, there is an admission fee to enter the park. For up-to-date pricing,
The 2019 guest researchers include
• Eric Soehren, Ecologist, Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources A graduate of Jacksonville State University with both undergraduate and master’s degrees in Biology, Eric has been a zoologist with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resource’s State Lands Division since 1997. He currently manages the Wehle Land Conservation Center (WLCC), where he administers the Avian Conservation Center, which works to develop and coordinate bird research and monitoring programs. Eric is actively involved with several conservation organizations including the Alabama Ornithological Society, Southeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, and the Inland Bird Banding Association.
• Dr. Scott Rush, Associate Professor, Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries & Aquaculture, Mississippi State An assistant professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Aquaculture at Mississippi State, Scott received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 2009. While his graduate research focused on properties of northern Gulf tidal-marsh ecosystems, he and his graduate students currently work on developing novel approaches to understand landscape/trophic ecologies and wildlife populations.
Partners in the program include Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Mississippi State University, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, the Edwin L. and Elizabeth L. Skelton Foundation, the Alabama Historical Commission, and the Mobile Bay Audubon Society). More details are available at birminghamaudubon.org/birdbanding, and registration is encouraged for planning purposes.
Founded in 1946, Birmingham Audubon is Alabama’s leading non-profit organization promoting conservation and a greater knowledge of birds, their habitats, and the natural world. Birmingham Audubon is a membership organization, offering field trips, conservation programs, adult classes, workshops, guided nature walks, community-science projects, and more. More info: hamaudubon.org.
Pictured: Bird banding at Ft. Morgan in 2018.