Bird Banding Project

Discover our Bird Banding Project – see bird closeup and learn how we’re helping them.

Delaware Nature Society’s Bird Banding project is comparing the use of two early-successional areas, Ashland Nature Center and Bucktoe Creek Preserve, by migrating and breeding species of birds.

Bird banding is open to the public! Come on by April-November annually at Ashland on Monday 8am–11am and Bucktoe, on Wednesday, 8am–11am. Be aware that it doesn’t take place on days when it is too cold, windy, or rainy.

Federally-licensed bird bander Ian Stewart began the project in June 2015 and, by November of that first year alone, was able to capture and band 413 birds of 37 species. Many of these were free-flying adults or juveniles caught in mist-nets, while others were nestlings reared in the many bird boxes present on each property.

Delaware Nature Society was fortunate to obtain funding from several generous donors to allow the project to continue.  Through this project we have now banded almost 3,000 birds of 71 species, including several unusual migrants. Dozens of these banded birds have been recaptured at each site between seasons or even years, including multiple Gray Catbirds returning each summer from their tropical wintering sites and White-throated Sparrows returning each winter from their breeding grounds in the far north. We also place color bands on Eastern Bluebirds as part of a study assessing how faithful they are to their nest box between years and also whether they remain at Ashland or Bucktoe during winter.

Bird Banding project

Read the full study report and 2 other publications by clicking on the titles below.

Stewart, I. and Sebastiani, J. (2015) Results from a bird banding pilot study at Ashland Nature Center and Bucktoe Creek Preserve. Delmarva Ornithologist. Vol 44, pages 15 – 21

Stewart, I. and Sebastiani, J. (2017) Occurrence of Black-capped Chickadees in Delaware during the winter of 2016-2017 together with a local banding record. Delmarva Ornithologist. Vol 46, pages 11 – 17

Stewart, I. and Sebastiani, J. (2017) Occurrence of ticks on birds banded in the Red Clay Valley. Delmarva Ornithologist. Vol 46, pages 59 – 69