Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - July 5, 2006)
Bird banding in Florida
Want to get up close and personal with nature and help out with a great cause at
the same time? Volunteer at the Sand Lake area of Wekiwa Springs State Park, just
north of Orlando. Richard and Christine could use your help.
|Photo by Karen Mitchell Tremmel
|Richard Poole busy at work at
the Wekiva Basin Banding Station.
The Wekiva Basin Banding Station is the longest continuously running bird banding
station in Florida having been set up in 1994. Wekiva currently operates in Wekiwa
Springs State Park but the banding station has also operated in nearby Rock Springs
Run State Reserve.
Monitoring bird activity in the Sand Lake area of Wekiwa Springs State Park has
been conducted for six fall seasons, six summer seasons, and one winter season
prior to 2001. During 2001 and 2002 the vegetation around the area was altered
While some of the original vegetation is present next to the path where nets were
placed prior to 2001, trees on either side of the path have been removed, either by
fire or mechanically. The vegetation will now be allowed to grow naturally.
The banding project near Sand Lake will encompass five years of banding effort,
which began September 2002. Depending upon weather conditions mist nets are opened
shortly before sunrise and closed before noon, once or twice weekly, throughout the
year. Five years of collected data will give a progressive history of bird activity
at the site.
This data also will give indications of weight fluctuations during the stay of
these birds, site fidelity and return rate of birds and indicate the birds
adaptations to present conditions, the emerging vegetation, and the fidelity of
birds that formerly used the area as a stop-over during migration or as a wintering
site. The data also will be used to compare netting captures before and after tree
Standard biometric information (age, sex, mass, and fat) is recorded for each
capture. Birds are marked with uniquely numbered USFWS aluminum leg bands. Now, if
all this sounds just way too technical, imagine the morning mist hovering close to
the ground, the sun rising slowly painting leaves and droplets sparkling
Imagine gentle silence.
Picture nearly invisible netting strung through the forest, or gently freeing a
bird, then for a second holding it in your hand. Feel the exuberating emotions of
viewing this little creature as it is documented and checked over.
If you love birding, you dont want to miss this opportunity. More than this,
you are making a real difference in this world of ours ... back to nature.
Volunteer hours are recorded every month by Richard or Christine. Visit home.cfl.rr.com/wekivabirdband/
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.