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Audubon Nature Center
On Saturday mornings from April 30 through May 21, you are invited to join ornithologists at the Audubon Nature Center to observe the age-old technique of bird banding.
Dr. Scott Stoleson, Emily Thomas Perlock, and Don Watts are the bird scientists leading the work to discover details about the lives of birds.
You can watch how they capture migrating and resident birds, fit them with identification bands, measure and weigh and then release them to go on with their lives. You might even be selected to help release a bird.
These scientists, who have both federal and state permits as well as a great deal of training and experience, capture the birds in “mist” nets, so-called because they are so fine they are almost like mist.
You can drop in for any amount of time between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. Come on your own or bring the kids with you to view this amazing process. If the weather is too foul, the nets will not be open.
Dr. Scott Stoleson, from nearby Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania, is a professional ornithologist who has published over 60 scientific papers on ecology and conservation of birds. He has conducted avian research in the western United States, Central and South America and has led natural history tours to the Caribbean and Latin America. He is currently the Research Wildlife Biologist at the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station lab in Irvine, Pennsylvania, and a Research Associate of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Stoleson holds a Master Banding permit and has 35 years of bird banding experience.
With a master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Penn State, Emily Thomas Perlock was a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service and is currently employed as an Instructor in Wildlife Technology at Penn State DuBois. She learned how to band in 2005 and has banded over 4000 birds. She holds a Master bird banding permit and is a certified bird bander by the North American Banding Council. Perlock established a banding program at The Arboretum at Penn State and has participated in banding programs for Audubon and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.
Warren County Pennsylvania native Don Watts has been biological technical assistant for the United States Forest Service in the Allegheny National Forest. A Master Bird Bander, he monitors the American Kestrel Nestbox trail in Warren County, was a participant in the first Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas and Regional coordinator in the second, and a participant in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service breeding bird surveys for more than 20 years. Watts is past president of Roger Tory Peterson Ornithological Club and Coordinator of the Warren Christmas Bird Count.
Participants are reminded to dress for the weather. While not necessary to enjoy the demonstrations, you may want to bring bird guides and binoculars if you have them. Plan to listen closely to the scientists and follow their instructions carefully, as safety of the birds is the priority.
Come to the picnic pavilion on the west side of the Audubon property at 1600 Riverside Road, just east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. Look for the sign at the entrance closer to Route 62. Drive right in and park on the grass.
The Nature Center offers these demonstrations to the public free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.
Nature Center building and Blue Heron Gift Shop hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Sundays 1-4:30 p.m. The trails and Bald Eagle viewing are open dawn to dusk. To learn more, call (716) 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org.