High in the Southern Appalachians just outside of Asheville is the North Carolina Arboretum, where Wild Bird Research Group has been running a MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station since the summer of 2018. Each year we have had the privilege to work with top-notch avian technicians and volunteers to monitor migrating warblers, flycatchers, and other passerines that move through this richly biodiverse region.
This season’s banding crew consisted of Clayton Gibb, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA); Karah Jaffe, an M.S. candidate at East Tennessee State University; Daniel Baron, a Warren Wilson College alum; and Staci Banks, a student at UNCA. Clayton and Karah were returning from working with us during the summers of 2020 and 2021, respectively, and this was Daniel’s and Staci’s first season at the station. All four did outstanding work this season, getting birds out of nets; determining age, sex, and molt; and keeping everything moving in an efficient manner.
Joining the core crew many mornings were several volunteers, including master bander and ecology professor Dr. Andrew Laughlin, Kristin Anderson of the North Carolina Arboretum, 2021 WBRG technician and current Duke University grad student Israel Golden, and others.
Over the course of the season, we operated 20 mist nets and banded 90 birds. The most commonly encountered species were Louisiana Waterthrush, Worm-eating Warbler, and Northern Parula. Highlights included a late-June White-eyed Vireo, a surprising bird because of the timing (June is a little early for post-breeding dispersal) and because of the location (the forested habitat immediately surrounding our station is not the preferred habitat of WEVI). The bird most likely ventured from a neighboring open field. Also of interest were two recaptured Louisiana Waterthrushes that were originally banded at our station in 2020.
The productivity of a banding station is dependent not only on the presence of birds, but also on the hard work of the people involved, and we had a terrific team this season. We are immensely grateful for the time and effort that our technicians and volunteers dedicated to the project this summer and look forward to continuing our conservation work at the arboretum throughout this and future years.
This guest post was written by Kyle Carlsen from Wild Bird Research Group. To learn more about the MAPS program, visit the website of the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP). Find out more about the nonprofit organization Wild Bird Research Group by visiting their website or following them on Instagram.