Edmonton, Alberta

Bird Banding at Strathcona Science Park with Janos Kovacs

On September 24, 2013, a group of us from Wild Birds Unlimited visited the Strathcona Science Park where Janos Kovacs and Doug Hube band birds for the purpose of better understanding bird migration and species life span, among other things. Here are some photos from that day.

Janos Kovacs, long-time volunteer bird

banding leader, and life-long bird lover.

Doug Hube, professor emeritus of astronomy

at the University of Alberta, and volunteer

bird bander recording data from banded birds.

A bird is caught in a "mist net" which has

a very fine, and barely visible rubber net.

The birds are disentangled and placed in

a cloth bag, which keeps them warm,

docile, and safe until it's time for them

to be banded.

The birds are taken to the banding station, where each

of the bags holding netted birds are hung on a hook

corresponding to the net they were caught in.

The species, weight, wing length, gender (when

possible), and approximate age, along with the date of 

capture and other information are recorded.

Sometimes birds are captured with bands put on them 

by other banders hundreds or thousands of miles from

Edmonton. Some of the netted birds have been re-

captured from previous days.

The data is later sent to Washington, DC where banding

information from across the continent is collected in 

databases to further the work of researchers seeking to

better understand the characteristics of each species.

Once banded and their data recorded, the birds are set for 

release back into the wild. This Dark-eyed Junco is one of 3 captured and released this day.

Shirley Coulson with a White-breated Nuthatch just before release.

Jocelyn Melnyk was very excited by her first time on a 

bird banding expedition, as were we all. She is holding a Black-capped Chickadee, one that had been recaptured from a previous day, just before its release.

The enthusiastic group of early risers watch as the birds are let go for their migration to warmer climes!

Thanks to Janos and Doug for the work they are doing, and for welcoming us to watch them in their labour of love.

Volunteers like Kovacs and Hube across the country and around the world spend many hours collecting information that helps governments understand the affect human civilization has on wildlife, and provides basic data upon which more progressive policies can be instituted.