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Bird Banding Lab

Banding LabThe Ventana Wildlife Society Bird Banding Lab, also known as the Big Sur Ornithology Lab, operated from 1992 through 2010. We used standardized mist netting to study songbird populations along the Big Sur River at Andrew Molera State Park. Through the years, we captured and banded more than 170 different bird species, and the data contributed to our knowledge of long-term population changes, seasonal movement patterns, and survival rates for various species. For example, we documented declines for local breeding populations of some species, such as Warbling Vireo and House Wren, and increases for several other local breeding populations, such as Swainson’s Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Wilson’s Warbler.

Warbling Vireo
Warbling Vireo Trend

We were able to evaluate these changes in the context of regional patterns. Our data demonstrated the importance of riparian breeding habitat at the park to overall conservation for these species. Many unexpected species also used the riparian habitat along the Big Sur River, as demonstrated by our captures of 50 vagrant species during our 19 years of operation. For published results of our work, click on these select manuscripts:

  1. 1. Trends in Riparian Songbirds Banded at Big Sur – Western Birds 42:85-95. (PDF 198KB)

  2. 2. Trends in Capture Rates for Summer, Winter, and Permanent Resident Songbirds – North American Bird Bander 36:149-155. (PDF 1.18MB)

  3. 3. Trends in Vagrant Capture Rates – Bird Populations 11:14-21. (PDF 542KB)

Lab VisitorsAlthough the bird banding lab is no longer operating, you can read lab updates and photos from 2001-2010.