7-day Beginner Bird Banding Workshop &

4-day Advanced Bird Banding Workshop

Hurricane Island has to be one of my favorite places I’ve banded in this country. The species we’ve captured there range from the bright and colorful Northern Parulas and American Redstarts, to the subtle and challenging Song Sparrows and Winter Wrens, providing an excellent place for beginners to learn and for practiced banders to hone their ageing skills on a variety of birds, all in some of the most gorgeous scenery the Northeast has to offer.
— Lauren Helton, Instructor, IBP

Are you interested in becoming a bird bander? Hurricane Island is happy to offer bird banding workshops taught by world-class instructors from The Institute for Bird Populations

The Institute for Bird Populations studies the abundance, vital rates, and ecology of bird populations to enable scientifically sound conservation of birds and their habitats. They collaborate locally, nationally, and globally with individuals, government agencies, and NGOs in diverse fields to assess the effects of land management actions, climate change, and other ecological stressors on bird populations, and prescribe science-based solutions. 

Why do we band birds?

Bird banding data are useful in both research and management projects. By banding birds, we can identify individuals and track their dispersal and migration, behavior and social structure, life-span and survival rate, and reproductive success and population growth. For example, when banded birds are captured, released alive, and then reported from somewhere else we can trace the movements of that individual. Banded birds have showed us that some species take different routes when they travel south or return north, and once a bird is banded continued observations can be made about that bird without handling it again.

Beginner Bird Banding, July 16-22, 2017

Cost: $2100, Includes all transportation between Hurricane Island and the mainland, all food, housing, and instruction

The seven-day introductory courses are designed to provide both amateur birders and professional biologists with the skills necessary to participate in monitoring and research programs involving bird banding.

Skills taught include:

This course was one of the highlights of my career. Holding a passerine in the hand brings an even greater appreciation for these species.
— Bird Banding Participant
  • Operation of mist-nets and safe extraction of birds
  • Bird-handling skills
  • In-hand ageing and sexing techniques
  • Scoring and recording data using MAPS protocol and forms

Lectures and discussions cover:

  • Avian life histories, energetics, molts, and plumages
  • Banding ethics
  • The permitting process
  • The role of banding in research and monitoring

Advanced Bird Banding, July 12-15, 2017

Cost: $1250, Includes all transportation between Hurricane Island and the mainland, all food, housing, and instruction

The four-day advanced classes are designed for experienced banders who wish to improve their sexing and ageing skills. Participants fine-tune the banding skills they already possess and advance their comprehension of molt strategies and ability to recognize molts limits and plumages on birds in hand. We focus on understanding and identifying the differences between specific adult age classes using the Identification Guide to North American Birds by Peter Pyle. We also spend time addressing advanced skills such as skulling, refining the scoring of various characteristics, and interpreting these characteristics for age and sex determinations.

Before attending an advanced class, participants should be able to handle and set up mist-nets; be able to extract birds from mist-nets; and have familiarity with ageing hatch-year versus after-hatch-year birds.