Our bird banding program a cornerstone of our research. Through the individual marking of birds we learn:
- Which species are found in the area, when they are found, and their relative abundance.
- Which species use our location as a stopover site, how long they stay to rest and refuel, and how much weight they gain.
- What types of foods and other resources are especially valuable to migrants in urban areas, including non-native plant species.
- Data that helps assess population trends, range expansions, and the timing of the annual cycle.
- Information on migration routes, site fidelity, and longevity.
Over 10,000 birds were banded on the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus between 1979-86. Since the banding program resumed in 1992, as the foundation of the Rouge River Bird Observatory, over 30,000 additional birds now sport the silver bracelet.
Thus far, 138 species have been banded at UM-D (123 since 1992), about one-third of the species found in Michigan.
[Please note that as of mid-2014, our funding situation has limited our banding, and we currently do not have any volunteer openings or public banding demonstrations.]
In the United States, bird banding is licensed and administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bird Banding Lab, where you can read more about the North American Bird Banding Program.