2014-08-28 / Nature

Third Season for Bird Banding Program

By Jack Kelly

This juvenile Common Yellowthroat was banded and released last fall. This juvenile Common Yellowthroat was banded and released last fall. The Aquidneck Island Land Trust will host a free lecture and demonstration of bird banding on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 9 a.m. at the Sweet Flag property, 123 Valley Road, Middletown. Dr. Jameson Chace, a biology professor at Salve Regina University and member of the land trust’s board of directors, will deliver the lecture while performing a handson bird banding program.

The Aquidneck Land Trust, working in partnership with the Town of Middletown, preserved the Sweet Flag parcel as part of the natural buffer zone for Bailey Brook. The brook is Newport’s primary source of drinking water, and the wooded and grassy areas of this region also serve as the habitat for many wildlife species, including migratory birds.

Chace and his students use this vital land as a living classroom and laboratory to study the migratory habits and behaviors of many birds. Past projects have included documenting the effects of herbicides, pesticides, and environmental pollutants on songbirds that pass through the property on their way south.

For three consecutive fall migrations Chace has taught the lessons of the natural world from Sweet Flag, using lightweight “mist nets” to capture birds flying through the habitat. “We take measurements of the birds’ wings and bodies, weigh them, and take feather and blood tests for analysis of contaminants that they may have been exposed to during migration. They are recorded by species, banded with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife band, and released to continue their journeys," he said. The project will continue through the migration cycle into late October.

Participants are asked to share rides due to limited space, and to park at the Middletown Police Station, 123 Valley Road. For more information, contact Jessica Pohl at Aquidneck Land Trust, jpohl@ailt.org or 401-849-2799 ext. 18.

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