Bird Banding

Researchers reporting data

I went bird banding this summer at MPG Ranch near Florence, MT. I was with Erick, Mike, Sasha, Trish and Annie.


Bird banding is when scientists catch birds to put metal or colored bands on their leg. Bird banding is a way that scientists can tell whether birds that they caught came back to the same nesting area or wintering grounds and it is easier to identify if the bird is caught again.

Notice the small bird band on the bird’s leg

I had to get up in the dark so I could help set up the station and nets. I stopped at a parking spot to wait with Erick for the other scientists from the UM Bird Ecology Lab (UMBEL). When I got out of the truck to say hi to Erick I heard a great-horned owl calling and got really excited because it’s not very often I can hear one! When I got to the site I helped set-up the nets. The nets are pretty wide and tall. The holes were big as a songbird head. They put two nets in some very tall bushes, two in a large grassland, one in a large forest and two in a forest with medium-sized trees. I helped set-up those two. They put the nets in different areas probably so they can catch different types of birds. There were about 6-7 nets.

After we set up the nets we waited for at least half an hour before we checked on the nets to see if there were any birds that flew in. If there was, they would bring the bird back to the site to band. They banded birds with special pliers to put a bird band on with unique numbers on each. They also sexed the birds and then put the birds in small plastic measuring cups to weigh them. It was very fun to watch and I really want to do it again!

Drawings and names of birds they banded

7 thoughts on “Bird Banding

  1. Dottie we were so happy to meet you and have you join us for a morning of bird banding! I love your descriptions and I’m excited to read more about your birding adventures on your blog. Your bird knowledge and artistic skills impressed us all, and we hope to see you out there again next year!

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  2. Dorothy. So proud of you. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Very interesting and beautiful artwork. Love you.

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