Today will be truly special, as we will be learning how to band birds from University of New England (UNE) professor and ornithologist, Noah Perlut.
Professor Perlut studies how wildlife are affected by human-managed habitats. Since 2002, he has been running a long-term research project on hayfield and pasture management and how this affects the life-histories of grassland songbirds such as Eastern Meadowlarks and Bobolinks. Professor Perlut also studies the ecology of urban roof-nesting Herring Gulls, marsh bird communities on the Saco River, and grey squirrel ecology on the UNE campus. To learn more about Professor Perlut's work, take a look at this article here.
Professor Perlut will be taking us to one of his research sites in the woods near UNE campus. There he will set up banding nets to capture some local resident birds, which we will learn to remove from the fine mist nets, carefully observe and record data on the birds, discuss their ecology, and finally let the birds go. Professor Perlut will educate us about the importance of bird banding as an integral tool for understanding more about the birds around us, as well as its value for conservation.
After bird banding, Lena will give a tour of UNE's Environmental Science lab, where she taught students how to prepare museum specimen skins of birds and therefore started the university's first ornithology collection. (To learn more about Lena's work, take a look at this article.) Lena will demonstrate the various bird skins in the collection and discuss the importance of such museum collections for the study of ornithology. Afterwards, she will take you to the new UNE student center building, which incorporated bird-safe glass into its design (you can read a Portland Press Herald article all about the bird-safe glass here). You will get to see this unique glass and learn all about how it prevents birds from striking windows, therefore saving hundreds of birds' lives every year.
LOGISTICS: Dress in layers and wear comfortable, WATERPROOF shoes. We will be trekking through a wet marsh in the woods, so rubber boots or waterproof hiking boots are best.
Also bring the following: hat & gloves, warm coat, filled water bottle, binoculars, and a backpack in which you'll keep your stuff. If you do not have binoculars, MYBC will provide you with a pair.
MEET UP and PICK UP: Meet us at 7:15 am at the UNE (11 Hills Beach Road, Biddeford) parking lot next to the Student Academic Success Center along Hills Beach Road (see map below). We will be bird banding and touring UNE until 11:00 am. Please arrive back at the UNE parking lot to pick up your child at 11:00 am.