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This program is not only an education tool that allows Missouri residents to get up close and personal with their own backyard birds, it's also an important project for gathering data on longevity and return rates of some of our resident and wintering bird species.
Citizen Scientists with color-banded birds are asked to provide us information on a regular basis (e.g., weekly or monthly as is convenient) about their re-sighted birds. The photo above, taken by prominent Missouri photographer Jim Rathert of a color-banded Carolina Chickadee at the Birds-I-View Garden in Jefferson City, displays how color-banded birds may be seen and identified. For an example of how color-band data is reported, please download our "How to Read and Report Color-bands". You can also download our re-sighting spreadsheet. As we receive data from our Backyard Banding participants, we will be able to determine the lifespan of some resident birds, such as Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Black-capped Chickadees. We will also be able to investigate the question of winter site fidelity of Slate-colored Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, and American Goldfinches.
The Backyard Banding program was a great success in Winters 2010-2011 and 2011-2012! Over those two seasons, we color-banded almost 1,000 birds at 29 locations. Thank you to all the residents who invited us to visit their homes and businesses. Please see pictures from some of our banding sessions below.
Our target species include Northern Cardinal, Black-capped and Carolina Chickadees, American Goldfinch, White and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Tufted Titmouse, Dark-Eyed Junco, Eastern Bluebird, White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows, and Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers.
What exactly is Backyard Banding??
Backyard banding is a fun and (hopefully!) educational demonstration that lasts about 4 hours in the afternoon. We set up one or two mist-nets around feeders to trap avian visitors. Each bird is banded with a standard serially-numbered aluminum band and a unique combination of one to three plastic color bands. For example, if we trap three Downy Woodpeckers, one will have a blue color-band, one a red color-band, and one a yellow color-band. This way, people can identify individual birds as they return to feeders. We provide forms for participants to report their color-band re-sight data along with instructions on how to read color-band combinations.
The White-breasted Nuthatch is our Backyard Banding mascot. Pictured (above) is a female banded in Marshall, MO.
This program will give us a chance to monitor lifespan and return rates of our resident and wintering species. Perhaps even more importantly, it allows us to converse with Missouri residents in a casual setting about the value of bird conservation and research.
Above: Three-year-old Connor of Clifton City watches Ethan with a Slate-colored Junco, and helps to pick out band colors.
Above: Washington, MO families and friends enjoy a Red-Bellied Woodpecker.
Below: Mr. Chuck Reiff of Marshall, MO with Dana and an American Goldfinch originally banded in March 2009, recaptured in the Reiffs' backyard only a mile away on 26 January 2011.
Below: The Patterson family of Marshall looks on as Aaron bands a Red-bellied Woodpecker.
Below: Larry Dobson about to release a male Eastern Bluebird. Lucky for us he his bluebirds trained to come for mealworms when he rings a bell, or we wouldn't have been able to catch them that afternoon!
Below: Mrs. Dobson about to release a Harris' Sparrow.
Below: Sydney Patterson watches for birds coming to be captured.
Below: Dr. Raynor of Marshall, MO views a Hairy Woodpecker - the first and only Hairy caught during Backyard Banding this year.
Below: Joanne Billington and Terre Brown enjoy a Blue Jay at Lake of the Ozarks.
Conservation in Missouri through research, education, and outreach
Staff| Board of Directors | Partnerships | Migration Banding | Marshbird Surveys | MAPS | Backyard Banding
Interns and Assistants| Schools | SCCC Classes | Burroughs Audubon | Cole Camp Master Naturalists | Anyone Welcome |
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Director: Dana Ripper: email@example.com
Assistant Director: Ethan Duke: firstname.lastname@example.org
MRBO Office: 660.886.8788
A 501(c)(3) Non-profit organization located in Marshall, MO