BSBO has been conducting standardized spring and fall migration monitoring efforts at its Navarre Marsh Banding Station since 1989. This long-term study has gathered data on over 400,000 individual birds of 150 species and has supported several affiliated projects through supplemental data collection during monitoring efforts.
The banding station is located in the Navarre Marsh unit of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge on the southwest shore of Lake Erie, behind the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio. This extensive marsh complex consists of open-water marsh units, cattail marsh, and upland areas in varying degrees of succession. The station is comprised of Carolinian forest (Eastern Cottonwood, Hackberry, Black Locust, Kentucky Coffeetree), dogwood and honeysuckle understory, and buttonbush marsh.
Three layers of data are collected at the station, with this protocol from Navarre being used as the model for the Midwest Migration Network. Each operating day, migration is documented through three standardized methods:
Once at the station, all birds are identified to species or subspecies and banded with an aluminum band stamped with a unique nine-digit serial number. After being banded, birds are aged, sexed, wing length measured, weighed, and visually inspected for fat deposits and breast muscle condition. Recaptured birds undergo the same data collection process, only receiving a new band if their original band is in need of replacement.
A project of this magnitude would not be possible without the dedication of numerous volunteers throughout each banding season and donors who support the resources needed to operate this station.
All banding, marking, and sampling is being conducted under a federally authorized Bird Banding Permit issued by the U.S. Geological Survey’s BBL.
Data from this project has been used to develop the Lake Erie Management Plan and the Beneficial Wildlife Impairments section of the Clean Water Act, and has been widely used for local and regional management plans. From this long-term dataset, BSBO has been able to develop the "Wave Theory" of spring songbird migration, detailing the arrival and peak time of many species, by sex and age.
Ongoing monitoring objectives include:
On average, BSBO bands 6,000 passerine and near-passerines in the spring and 5,000 in the fall of 100 species, with nearly 1,000 recaptures and 150 returns each season. If you're interested in collaborating on a project or collecting data with us during the migration season, please fill out this form of interest.
BSBO's Navarre Marsh Banding Station resources: