Audubon Hosts National Bird Banding Program

The Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship Program comprises a continent-wide network of hundreds of mist netting stations that capture and band birds for study.

Analyses of the resulting banding data provide critical information relating to the ecology, conservation and management of North American landbird populations and the factors responsible for changes in their populations.

The Audubon Center & Sanctuary has been doing bird banding demonstrations in the spring since 2007. This is the third year it has hosted the MAPS research program that is specifically timed to target breeding birds.

The sanctuary houses a diverse array of habitats including many wet areas interspersed with small conifer plantations and deciduous forests. The area is home to many species of breeding birds including house wrens, gray catbirds, yellow warblers, common yellowthroats, swamp sparrows and red-winged blackbirds. The 10 mist nets scattered throughout the southwest corner of the sanctuary allow scientists to capture, band and process these breeding birds.

The public is welcome to observe ornithologist Emily Thomas band birds at the Audubon Sanctuary on the mornings of Saturday, July 6; Friday, July 12; Saturday, July 20; and Tuesday, July 30, from roughly 7 to 11 a.m.

Observers will need to pay attention to the ornithologist and follow her instructions. Visitors are reminded to dress for the weather and wear boots or shoes that can get muddy – and bring binoculars and a camera if they’d like. If the weather is bad and could endanger birds caught in the nets, banding will be rescheduled.

Emily Thomas has worked as a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station’s Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Irvine, Pa., and is employed as an instructor in wildlife technology at Penn State DuBois. Having banded more than 4,000 birds, she holds a Master Bird Bander permit and is a bird bander certified by the North American Banding Council. She established a banding program at The Arboretum at Penn State and has participated in banding programs for Audubon and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.

The opportunity to observe is free, but donations are appreciated. Reservations are not required.

Bird banding is supported in part by the Northern Allegheny Conservation Association.

For more information on the national MAPS program, visit

The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, a quarter-mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren, Pa. The program is in the pavilion located on the west side of the property.

For more information, call 569-2345 or visit