Beak Performance: Birds at Mammoth Cave

Beak Performance: Birds at Mammoth Cave

This is a quick post for puns and for emphasizing how cool birds are. I have been involved in MAPS monitoring and have learned how to take the birds out of the nets and hold them so they aren’t hurt.

MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity & Survivorship)

This is a nationally coordinated project through the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP). There are over 1200 stations across North America, capturing perching birds and song birds. Most of these migrate south for the winter. We do some measurements, sexing and aging, then we place a small aluminum band around their ankle before releasing them. Songbirds are thought to be in decline across the continent, this data allows us to determine any trends & causes of these declines. This is the 19th year that Mammoth Cave is participating in this data. Here’s more information on MAPS:

To catch the birds we set out nets before sunrise and check them on 40 minute intervals from about 05:30 to 11:30. When a bird is caught in the net we very delicately detangle it and put it in a cotton bag. We then finish checking the nets and return to our station with our bags of bird (only one bird per bag). We collect the data we need on the bird, put a band with a unique number around its ankle so if it is recaught by us or by other researchers in the study we know where the bird has been and can track its movement patterns. We then release the bird and watch it fly away.

After nibbling on Anjali’s fingers, a cardinal lays in her hands not realizing that he is free to fly away (a stick as given to him so he would stop biting).
A researcher holds a Cerulean Warbler.

Anjali admires a female cardinal, this one did not bite her as much.

If you liked it, then you shoulda put a wing on it. Jk, don’t do that, but please fly back to this site to see my next post, it’ll be nesting right here!

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