Bird Banding Returns to Freshkills Park

Bird Banding Common Yellowthroat José Ramírez

Common Yellowthroat. Photo by José Ramírez-Garofalo.

Researchers from the College of Staten Island are operating a bird banding station at Freshkills Park for the second consecutive summer. The project is led by Dr. Lisa Manne and Dr. Dick Veit. In 2016, they banded over 20 species of birds, including orchard orioles, hairy woodpeckers, and yellow warblers.

Birds are very active early in the morning, so researchers arrive at Freshkills Park at 5:00 a.m. for banding. For the next four hours, they catch birds using mist nets and add little identification tags to their legs before releasing them. Researchers also record important demographic data, such as age, sex, and whether the individual had a “brood patch,” used for incubating eggs. These details help researchers understand the factors that determine population growth for certain birds. The process takes just a few minutes.

NY1 Reporter Amanda Farinacci visited to learn more about the bird banding project. In an interview, Dr. Manne described Freshkills Park as an important site. “The novelty of taking a landfill and converting it to a park is being watched by many, many cities,” she said, “and we want to know if the birds can survive in this human-altered environment.” See the full story here.

The bird banding station is part of The Institute for Bird Populations’ MAPS (“Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship”) program. Today over 1,200 MAPS stations exist throughout the United States and Canada. The information that’s gathered at Freshkills Park is being added to large-scale data sets that increase understanding of bird productivity across the continent and assist in tracking species that visit the area.

For more information about research projects at Freshkills Park, visit the Scientific Research page.

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