Fall Migration Fundraiser to Benefit Cape Florida Banding Station Works

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Michelle Davis – Cape Florida Bird Banding Station Manager Michelle Davis observes a prairie warbler before it is banded and released. Michelle has run the station for two decades.
(Photo by Federico Acevedo)

South Floridians can support crucial migratory bird research and help educate the next generation of local conservationists by participating in the “Adopt-A-Net” fall migration fundraising campaign to benefit the Cape Florida Banding Station (CFBS), a community science program under the Tropical Aile Audubon Society since 2020.

Field research conducted by CFBS and its team of trained volunteers highlights the importance of protecting the natural habitat of migratory songbirds, especially in the urban core of Miami-Dade County.

The CFBS “Adopt-A-Net” effort offers local residents the opportunity to help replace worn out “mist nets” essential to station operations. Sponsors will also help celebrate the station’s 20th anniversary and will receive an embroidered badge to mark this milestone.

Thousands of songbirds stop at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park (BBCFSP) each spring and fall to refuel as they migrate along the Atlantic Flyway, heading either to North American summer habitats, or to southern wintering destinations in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

CFBS volunteer community scientists have been banding these Neotropical migrants during their fall migration (mid-August to early November) since 2002. The station, under the direction of co-founder Michelle Davis, launched its first regular annual banding season of the spring migration in March 2021.

“We are thrilled to have the station under the umbrella of our program and are very pleased to be able to provide Michelle with the additional bandwidth to expand CFBS’s crucial work collecting long-term surveillance data,” Lauren said. Jonaitis, senior director of conservation for the Tropical Audubon Society. . “The goal is to help visiting birds survive and thrive. Our seasonal visitors must rely on our region for food, shelter and fresh water, which can be difficult for birds to find. migratory singers, especially in urban areas of Miami-Dade.

Why Adopt-A-Net? Florida’s punishing sun weakens and damages the delicate nylon mist nets needed to gently capture migrating birds for brief examination, documentation, banding and release. To help replace old, worn-out nets and other equipment critical to CFBS operations, the inaugural “Adopt-A-Net” sponsorship program was launched in 2021.

Anyone interested in helping understand the birds’ needs on their journey can “adopt” one of the Station’s 36-foot-long mist nets for $150 or commit to a half-mist net for $75.

Funding is crucial for the fall banding season, which runs from August 15 to November 10. as well as a list of all bird species banded at the station during the fall migration season. Personalized panels displaying the name of each sponsor will distinguish the nets “adopted” for the duration of the season.

Full net donors who wish to upgrade to the $1,000 level will be invited for a private CFBS tour with Davis, and will also receive an original piece of art – one of his 9-by-12-inch field sketch watercolors featuring featured a Cape Bird Species from Florida.

Davis, who holds a PSM in Environmental Policy and Management from the CRF and is passionate about field sketching, said: “Adopt-A-Net was designed to educate the public about the much-needed research we do at the station. , while raising funds to support this.”

All Adopt-A-Net sponsors will be recognized on the Tropical Audubon Society and CFBS websites, as well as the CFBS blog (sponsors also have the option to remain anonymous).

Bird banding involves capturing a bird, placing a unique numbered aluminum band around its leg, recording its age, health, sex, height and weight, and then releasing it. Banding then makes it possible to identify a bird if it is recaptured. More importantly, banding allows researchers to study bird migration patterns, range, bird lifespans, and the impacts of climate change over time.

To safely capture migrating birds, 23 mist nets are set up at BBCFSP in an area covering approximately eight acres in a restored hardwood hammock. Birds that fly into the nets are gently removed, banded and quickly released.

Data collected by CFBS helps scientists understand songbird migration patterns and highlights the importance of the park’s restored native hardwood hammock to these migrants. Conveniently located in one of the state’s most valuable Important Bird Areas (IBAs) for migratory birds, the site has provided crucial data that has informed researchers, the public and civic leaders for two decades.

Since its inception in 2002, CFBS has operated with a Federal Master Banding Permit, State Banding Permit, and Park Research Permit, and has banded over 40,000 birds representing 119 species, with an average of 1 900 birds ringed each fall. Neotropical migrant warblers, vireos, thrushes, sparrows, catbirds and flycatchers make up the majority of banded species.

For more information on the Cape Florida Banding Station, visit the website:
https://tropicalaudubon.org/cape-florida-banding-station.


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