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Banding Research

Raptor Banding

Valuable research at Hawk Ridge is conducted through the banding program. Staffed 24-hours a day from mid-August to late November, the banding station at Hawk Ridge is one of the top few on the continent in terms of total numbers of banded hawks and owls, with an average of nearly 3,000 each season. 

Our site contains a table of the Hawk Ridge raptor banding research totals, dating back from 1972. The seasonal banding total for every species is listed.

Passerine Banding

Concern over declining populations of certain neotropical migrant passerines (songbirds) has existed for over 2 decades. Researchers have responded to this concern by monitoring neotropical passerine populations using several different methods; point counts, Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) routes, the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program, migration counts, radar studies, migration banding, etc. Each method provides a unique data set and can be used to better understand the causes of population declines or natural fluctuations. For example, BBS routes can quantify singing male passerines on a given route year after year. Migration banding can help to quantify passerines for species that are often overlooked due to inaccessibility within certain areas.

The Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve (HRNR) is located at a natural concentration point for fall migrating birds, and hence, offers a great opportunity to conduct migration research. Passerines were sporadically banded between 1982-1992 at HRNR. This work prompted the development of a full time Passerine Banding Operation in 1996. The goals/objectives of this research project are to monitor population trends, determine migrant phenology (timing of migration) for Northeastern Minnesota, collect stopover site ecology information, and provide an educational resource for the general public to learn more about birds and bird migration.

Each season an average of nearly 4,000 passerines is banded.  There have been 102 passerine species banded at Hawk Ridge since 1996. 

See The List!