The Online Bird Banding Station


Bird research is an integral part of our work at North Branch Nature Center. Each spring and summer, we operate a songbird banding station at which our skilled staff and volunteer researchers catch, band, measure, and safely release birds. This work is part of a nationwide conservation research effort to better understand bird population and reproduction trends. In the fall, our attention turns towards capturing migratory Northern Saw-whet Owls as they move through the forests surrounding the nature center. Like our songbird work, our owl research is part of a nationwide effort to monitor populations of this seldom-seen species.

Most years, our bird banding work is open to the public, and we encourage visitors to experience our work up close. This year, we are bringing some of that work to you virtually through our new online bird banding station - Enjoy!


NOTE: Our researchers are highly trained and permitted to conduct this work safely. We believe that the temporary stress that these birds experience is justified for the important conservation value of this research. Please see our Bird Safety video in the songbird section before exploring the rest of our media. Our researchers adhere carefully to the Bander's Code of Ethics.

Northern Saw-whet Owls

Watch the banding and processing of a Northern Saw-whet Owl at our research station during this Facebook Live recording.

While awaiting the arrival of owls at our station, we discusses owl ecology and migration, introduces the research equipment and methods, and answers audience questions.


Note: Our researchers adhere carefully to the Bander's Code of Ethics

Our work has contributed to a long list of scientific publications available here at the Institute for Bird Populations page. Here's a sampling of these studies:

  • Saracco, J.F., and M. Rubenstein. 2020. Integrating broad-scale data to assess demographic and climatic contributions to population change in a declining songbird. Ecology and Evolution 10:1804-1816. PDF
  • Saracco, J.F., R.B. Siegel, L. Helton, S. Stock, and D. DeSante. 2019. Phenology and productivity in a montane bird assemblage: trends and responses to elevation and climate variation. Global Change Biology 2019:25;985-086. PDF
  • Pyle, P., J.F. Saracco, and D.F. DeSante. 2018. Evidence of widespread movements from breeding to molting grounds by North American landbirds. The Auk: Ornithological Advances 135:506-520. PDF
  • Wilson, S., J.F. Saracco, R. Krikun, D.T. Tyler Flockhart, C.M. Godwin, and K.R. Foster. 2018. Drivers of demographic decline across the annual cycle of a threatened migratory bird. Scientific Reports:7316. PDF
  • Albert, S.K., D.F. DeSante, D.R. Kaschube, and J.F. Saracco. 2016. MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) data provide inferences on demographic drivers of population trends for 158 species of North American landbirds. North American Bird Bander 41:133-140. PDF
  • Glass, A.J., A.J. Caven, D. Kim, M.O. Sutton, and N. Arcilla. 2020. Climate change and land management implications for a declining Neotropical migratory songbird breeding in the North American Great Plains. Avian Conservation and Ecology 15:4. PDF
  • Ng, A.M.B., M. Pontius, S.L. De Ruiter, and D.S. Proppe. 2020. Noise, avian abundance, and productivity at banding stations across the Continental United States. Avian Conservation and Ecology 15:4. Link to Paper
  • Donnelly, R., and J.M. Marzluff. 2003. Importance of reserve size and landscape context to urban bird conservation. Conservation Biology 18:734-745. PDF



Songbird Banding Station Gallery

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Our bird research, including our Online Bird Banding Station is made possible by
The Oakland Foundation.

North Branch Nature Center

713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
(802) 229-6206
[email protected]

Office Open Monday-Friday from 9 am to 4 pm
Trails Open 24/7