Students get up close and personal with migrating songbirds

October 15, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- Every weekend since the end of August, a group of Penn State wildlife and fisheries science students have been learning to band birds along the edge of a wooded area at the Arboretum at Penn State. The students are working under the direction of Emily Thomas, a 2009 Penn State graduate and a master's candidate in wildlife and fisheries science. Thomas holds a banding permit from the U.S. Geological Survey and is giving the students experience that will help them in the job market. In 14 morning sessions so far, the students have helped Thomas capture 385 birds in special "mist nets." They then band each bird and take measurements before releasing it. Thomas sends the data to the Bird Banding Laboratory at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. The data will be helpful to researchers who study birds' habits, populations and migration patterns.

For a story about the banding project by Tina Hay, editor of The Penn Stater magazine, click here. To see Hay's photos from the bird-banding sessions, visit online.

  • Emily Thomas, a graduate student in wildlife and fisheries science, untangles a blue jay from the net in preparation for banding it. For more photos, click on the image above.

    IMAGE: Tina Hay
Last Updated June 22, 2011