Vancouver Avian Research Centre

.....Research - Conservation - Education
Banding for educational purposes

During educational programs at the Vancouver Avian Research Centre, wild birds are mist-netted; identified to species, measured, and banded under permit and according to procedures prescribed by the federal Bird Banding Laboratory; held for short periods and released unharmed. Data collected during these banding sessions is maintained and becomes part of the Center’s permanent research database, and is submitted for inclusion in the files of the federal Bird Banding Laboratory in Ottawa.

In educational banding programs, each "bird-in-the-hand“ is used as a teaching tool to explain a variety of avian topics, including evolution, adaptation, morphology, taxonomy, identification, migration, and behaviour. Captured birds also help teach the public about bird research techniques, what to do with a banded bird if found, and various topics in plant and animal ecology and conservation.

The value of bird banding as a research tool in avian ecology is well documented (e.g., many issues of North American Bird Bander, Auk, Wilson Bulletin, etc.). Anderson and Spreyer (1982) found that 210 of 303 banders (69%) responding to a nationwide survey also used banding as an education tool. Depending on the venue, an audience may participate directly in capture and release of wild birds.
Banding for educational purposes generates data useful to research, and additional benefits are derived from offering banding opportunities to visitors. Through on-site education programs, bird banding at the Vancouver Avian Research Centre:

  • Stimulates interest in wild birds and nature Uses birds-in-the-hand as tools to teach about avian morphology, evolution and behaviour.

  • Helps demonstrate relationships between wild birds and plants, particularly with regard to pollination and seed dispersal.

  • Informs visitors about the value of bird banding as a research tool.

  • Instructs visitors on how to report the finding of banded birds to the federal Bird Banding Lab.

  • Attracts visitors who are not yet interested in various aspects of natural history but who are curious about birds.

  • Provides opportunities to discuss aspects of the Center’s research program that employs banding.

  • Adds to the Center’s biological databases.

  • Train interns in handling wild birds and in the use of banding in educational venues in association with SFU, UBC and BCIT study programs.

  • Instructs education interns in collection, preparation, analysis, and submission of banding data.

  • Increases visitation for the parks through banding workshops for organized groups and other audiences. 

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