Resident and wintering migrant birds will be the focus of the upcoming Passerine Banding at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center Saturday, December 4. This close inspection of favorite backyard perching birds equips birders with ways to identify and understand specific bird species and to participate in live scientific research.
Kyle Shepherd with the Banding Coalition of the Americas will place large nets along the wooded paths at the Downtown Moss Point bayou property that will safely catch resident and wintering migrant birds. He said the 10-by-20 foot nets are designed to catch birds in pockets so that banders can document important data.
“With this type of banding event, our main goal is education and outreach while gathering some scientific data,” said Shepherd who is a licensed bird bander. “We will check the nets every 30 minutes and collect birds that have been caught.”
Each bird that is caught will be identified, banded, the age and the sex of the bird will be determined, a measurement of the wing and tail will be taken along with the tarsus length and the bill length.
“While we are collecting data, we will be explaining to guests what we are doing and the importance of this documentation,” Shepherd said. Once complete, the bird will be released to the wild.”
This banding event will be part of the Holiday Marketplace at PRAC and a gift to the local community. The birds caught and released will include cardinals, chickadees, warblers and other perching birds that are native to this area. Shepherd said sometimes a rare species is caught, and this type of data can provide information on declining species.
Admission to the Holiday Marketplace is free, but donations for entry are encouraged. The front lawn of the 10-acre site will feature a variety of vendors for ease of shopping along with entertainment by the Great Speckled Birds. Native plants will be for sale at the hoop house, and children’s activities will take place under the large Oak and at the nature play area.
A chili cook-off will take place in the Perch along with concession sales and glass blowing sessions with Swampgirl Glass Blowing. Santa will be set up in the pergola to hear wish lists from children young and old and to pose for photo opportunities.
The gate opens at 9 a.m. and will close at 4 p.m.