Upcoming Programs

The importance of habitat islands for migrating songbirds – Jan. 9

mist-nettingEvery fall, billions of songbirds take to the skies at night and begin their journey to their wintering grounds, hundreds of miles to the south. As the sun begins to rise in the morning, these songbirds drop to the nearest vegetation and begin feeding nonstop until it is time to leave again.

When flying over cities or areas with little suitable habitat, such as agricultural fields or large bodies of water, the birds will land anywhere that may provide them food and cover, sometimes in a single tree or a garden with a few bushes. In times like this, small patches of habitat, often referred to as “habitat islands,” are crucial in the survival of migrating songbirds.

To learn more about these migration habits and habitats, starting in August 2018, Ball State graduate students Brandon Connare and Alexander Sharp set up their mist nets at Christy Woods, a 17-acre Ball State property located on the south side of campus. There they captured and banded songbirds in order to track trends in migration, such as timing and stopover habitat. 

On Wednesday, January 9, Alex and Brandon will share some of the results of the fall banding season, including number and species captured, interesting observations or captures, the importance of this project, and some information about creating habitat islands of your own that will benefit songbirds.

Chapter business and refreshments will begin at 7 p.m. at Kennedy Library, followed by Brandon and Alex’s presentation at 7:15.