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Soup to Nets: An Introduction to Passerine Banding

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to offer hands-on instruction in a safe way as it requires close contact, “over the shoulder” supervision, passing birds and tools back and forth, etc. We will be offering classes in 2021, but for the spring they will be modified in the following ways: (1) all instructors will be fully vaccinated (i.e. receiving a final dose at least two weeks before the start of class), (2) all students must be fully vaccinated, (3) class size will be limited to 4 students, (4) the BBBO field house will not be available, and (5) some lectures may be conducted virtually. We will offer exemptions to the vaccination requirement for medical reasons only. We realize that some people will not be able to attend under these conditions; we encourage you to consider our fall option.

Announcement for the 2021 Classes

Braddock Bay Bird Observatory is pleased to offer four sessions of our popular Bander Training Course this year:

Session I: Sunday May 2 – Saturday May 8 (no housing, 4 student max)
Session II: Sunday May 9 – Saturday May 15 (no housing, 4 student max)
Session III: Sunday May 16 – Saturday May 22 (no housing, 4 student max)
Session IV: Monday September 20 – Sunday September 26

The course is open to anyone interested in learning or perfecting banding skills from supportive, professional staff. Training will take place at the Kaiser-Manitou Beach Banding Station, located just northwest of Rochester, NY on the shore of Lake Ontario, during the peak of passerine migration when 100-300 bird days are not uncommon.

Mornings will feature hands-on training in the field while afternoons will be devoted to lectures, demonstrations and in-depth instruction on various aspects of bird banding. General topics to be covered during each 7-day session include: netting and trapping techniques, removal of birds from mist nets, proper handling and processing of birds (including biometrics, ageing and sexing, molt terminology, skulling), use of the Pyle guide, permitting, relations with the public, and banders’ ethics. The class is suitable for beginning and novice banders, but because of the small class size we can tailor the experience to accommodate the needs of more experienced banders as well.

The course has been approved by the North American Banding Council, uses training manuals produced by the NABC, and is taught by Andrea Patterson – an NABC-certified Trainer who has taught more than 175 students in small hands-on workshops at BBBO and in Belize. Participants will receive a certificate of participation from the NABC upon successful completion of the course.  Both beginning and advanced banders will find the class a useful primer for eventual NABC certification.

Course tuition is $600, which includes all materials. There is a $100 discount for students and early professionals (within 5 years of terminal degree) who are pursuing careers in avian ecology. To encourage equity and inclusion in avian studies, we offer a limited number of full tuition waivers to students from groups under-represented in the field; for more information, contact Andrea PattersonCourse participants can elect to be housed at the BBBO field house for an additional fee of $125; note that this option is not available for Spring 2021.

Because space in these courses is extremely limited, priority will be given to those with the opportunity to use these skills either in their work or as volunteers. Invitations to join the class will be sent in January for the spring sessions, and in May for the fall sessions. Upon acceptance into the course, a $250 deposit is required to confirm the seat; full payment is due on or before April 15 for the spring and August 25 for the fall. Tuition is refundable minus a $50 administrative fee if the participant cancels prior to the final payment deadlines.

To apply, fill out the online form.  For additional information about the Banders’ Training Course please contact Andrea Patterson.

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