Tales and Tails

WBRG Is Back On Air!

April 27, 2024

Did you hear about the new station in Pennington? WBRG has contests and celebrity guests from time to time. And giveaways!

But… it is not actually a radio station. We got your attention with contests and giveaways though didn’t we?

WBRG stands for Wild Bird Research Group, Inc. and they are locally based in Pennington, NJ and also in Asheville, North Carolina. Each weekend from Spring through Summer they conduct research on migrating, and local resident songbirds as part of the MAPS program. The Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship program is a continent-wide collaborative effort among public agencies, non-governmental groups, and individuals to assist the conservation of birds and their habitats through bird banding. It is conducted through the IBP (Institute for Bird Populations). In the Fall, their efforts move over to owls.

A team of banding technicians and volunteers come together in the early hours of the morning once per week to capture, band, and release the birds. Data is recorded on each bird and logged digitally through a bird banding data sheet. Depending on the day and the season (based on which species have arrived from their migrations or not) no two days at the banding station are the same. Which not only keeps it interesting, but also makes for some interesting methods to add a little gamification to the situation. As in, which bird will make it to the station first? Or what number of a certain species will we get that day? Winners usually get bragging rights and a bird-themed sticker. That is, the technicians take the goodies, not the birds.

It is also important to note that the research collected is not just about collecting data week over week. While the birds may change in the short term, more importantly, our data is collecting information on changes in birds populations over time (in years), as the habitat of the surrounding fields changes. New habitat means a lot more than just maturing trees. The dapper Prairie Warbler, pictured above, doesn’t actually prefer prairies at all. But as the Fiddler’s Creek Preserve grows over time, the area become more prime real estate for these birds, preferring younger second growth scrub and densely overgrown fields to raise their young.

This particular day began on the chillier side of Spring, with overnight temps feeling more like October than April. But the overcast skies and windless morning were just right for banding. Today’s celebrity guest was the TRES, or Tree Swallow. The other birds included the regulars like the AMGO, American Goldfinch, SOSP, Song Sparrow, FISP, Field Sparrow, CACH, Carolina Chickadee, PRAW, Prairie Warbler, EABL, Eastern Bluebird, NOCA, Northern Cardinal, AMRO, American Robin, HOWR, House Wren, BRTH, Brown Thrasher, and a pleasant surprise in a tiny package with a red mohawk, the RCKI, the fiery Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Meanwhile, there are the birds in the trees right above us that are all around us, but not in hand. Birds like the Eastern Towhee and the Blue-winged Warbler will have to wait for another day. Perhaps, next week they are on the celebrity guest list. Stay tuned for next week’s top ten hits!

The Wild Bird Research Group, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to conduct and support research and science-based conservation initiatives that benefit birds and their habitats in the Americas.  WBRG and its associates conduct various research, monitoring and education programs in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. and Central America, tropical bird banding internships for university students, owl migration and winter ecology research, and bird-focused environmental interpretive programs.

Learn more on their website…

You may also like...