This year in particular, along with operating one of the nation’s largest banding stations, the research team also accomplished some great feats during spring migration.
Once deployed, these transmitters send out a specific radio signature that is picked up by Motus receiver towers positioned throughout North America. When a tagged bird flies within range of these towers, its signature is recorded and uploaded to Motus, allowing researches to see when and where these birds are traveling.
Through this collaborative effort the BSBO research team has been able to contribute data to an issue that millions of birds face every year as they traverse the landscape. The information gathered from the movements of these birds will hopefully paint a clearer picture on any immediate or long-lasting effects from collisions and – as an additional benefit – give us a better idea of how migrants are traveling across the lakeshore and Lake Erie.
While simultaneously operating one of the nation’s largest banding stations, the BSBO research team also hosted a North American Banding Council (NABC) (nabanding.net) certification session, evaluating nine candidates at the levels of Trainer, Bander, and Assistant. The mission of the NABC is to promote sound and ethical bird-banding practices and techniques. To accomplish this, the NABC has developed educational and training materials, including manuals on general banding and an accompanying three-level certification process. While becoming NABC certified is not a requirement to handle or band birds, it is a great accomplishment to achieve and promotes a high standard among bird banders.
Two years ago, Ashli Gorbet and Ryan Jacob of BSBO’s research department, achieved the NABC level of Bander. Following that certification, they traveled to Powdermill in 2018 to be evaluated at the Trainer level and attained this status as well. This ranking put Ashli and Ryan among a select group of bird banders recognized as having the skills and knowledge to effectively train and evaluate those in the bird banding community.
Coming full circle, Ashli and Ryan (along with established trainers and NABC council members, Mark Shieldcastle and Annie Lindsay, and recently certified trainer, Deven Kammerichs-Berke) were able to take part in hosting a BSBO-led NABC certification session at the end of this past May. Of the nine candidates evaluated, four have exclusively trained with Ashli and Ryan in BSBO’s research station, and were ready for the evaluation process. It was great to have BSBO’s training methods put to the test through this NABC certification session, finding out what we (BSBO’s research team) do well as trainers and what we can still improve on.