Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Birding, Banding at Crown Point Historic Site

bird banding program providedThe Crown Point Bird Banding Association will set up its yearly bird banding station at the Crown Point State Historic Site May 10 through May 25. In its 44th year, the Crown Point banding station returns to record migration data and birdsongs, and the public is invited to observe and learn more 6 am to 6 pm daily.

Bird banding is an effort to identify and track different species of migratory birds that pass through the region every year, so as to better collect ecological data and improve conservation efforts.  The public can watch the netting and banding process, learn some basic species identification and may even be allowed to release a bird after data recording.

The Bird Conservation Area (BCA) is located on the grounds of the Crown Point State Historic Site, at the tip of Crown Point peninsula, just south of the Champlain Bridge to Vermont. Jutting northward into Lake Champlain, the peninsula serves as a migrant trap in spring, concentrating waves of northbound birds in thickets west of the British fort ruin. The State Historic Site is a designated Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society.

As many as 30 different species of colorful warblers are seen at this banding station during May. BCA interpretive panels on the left side of the entry road show a map of the location of the bird banding station. From there, proceed to the main parking lot, then continue on foot, first west to the barns and then south. Since the station opened in 1976, many thousands of birds – over 100 species – have been banded there.

Two all ages hour-long guided bird walks are scheduled Saturday, May 11 and Thursday, May 23 at 8 am. The walks will end with a visit to the banding station. The walk is about two miles of flat and muddy terrain. Boots are necessary. Binoculars and field guides are available for loan. Participants meet at the Historic Site’s Museum.

The hikes are led by Mark and Stacy Robinson. A citizen-scientist, Robinson has contributed over 4,400 checklists, or observations, into eBird’s database including some 1,000 photos of 300-plus birds species and more than 200 sound recordings. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society launched eBird in 2002. eBird is an online database of bird observations providing scientists, researchers and amateur naturalists real-time data about bird distribution and abundance.

The hikes are limited to 25 participants. Registration is required; email Lisa K. Polay at lisa.polay@parks.ny.gov, or call (518) 597-4666.

Photo of bird banding program provided.

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