This spring, master bird banders Mike Peterson and Gordon Howard will again lead their team mist netting and banding migrating birds that pass through the Crown Point area on the shore of Lake Champlain. This years marks their 34th season.
Bird banding is a well-established and indispensable technique for studying the movement, survival and behavior of birds. The Crown Point banding station has been operated since 1976 and since its opening, a total of 14,982 birds of 98 species have been banded. They hope to band #15,000 during 2009, their 34th year of operation.
Here's a recap of the 2008 season.
VISITOR HOURS AND INSTRUCTIONS
Master bander Mike Peterson and the banding team welcome visitors on any days between Saturday May 9 through Sunday May 24. The station is open from dawn until late afternoon when the gate closes (hours vary). Banding is often best on still, cloudy, or even rainy days, and birds are most active in the early morning hours-- generally until about 9 am -- although birds are netted throughout the day.
Please sign the Visitor Log on arrival at the station-- a shelter, tables, and tents west of the British fort. Feel free to bring food & drink, as well as cameras, but the banders ask that cell phones be turned off. Waterproof footwear is recommended, since trails and net lanes are often muddy. Even when banding is slow, the birding is generally good on the grounds of the Historic Site during May.
Crown Point is included in the book "Adirondack Birding - 60 Great Places to Find Birds", co-written by Mike Peterson. The book gives you more information about this Important Bird Area, the birds you might see there, along with a map of the area. Adirondack Birding is available at Wild Birds Unlimited - Saratoga Springs NY.
From Rte 22 south of Port Henry, take the road to the Crown Point Bridge (County Rte 903) and look for the Crown Point State Historic Site sign and entrance on the left just before the bridge. If the gate is locked, park across the highway and walk in the access road; otherwise, drive in. Stop and consult the interpretive birding panels on the left for a map that shows the location of the banding station. Vehicles should then be parked in the main lot in front of the museum.
CROWN POINT BIRD CONSERVATION AREA
The Bird Conservation Area is located on the grounds of the Crown Point State Historic Site, at the tip of Crown Point peninsula, just south of the bridge to Vermont. Jutting northward into Lake Champlain, the peninsula serves as a migrant trap in spring, concentrating waves of northbound birds in thickets west of the British fort. The State Historic Site has also been designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society.
Over 200 bird species have been observed at the Crown Point BCA, with as many as 27 different species of colorful warblers possible during May. Stop at the BCA interpretive panels on the left side of the entry road to view a map showing the location of the bird banding station, proceed to the main parking lot, then continue on foot.
This is a great activity for the family and for school or youth groups. You may even get a chance to release a banded bird!
Read more at the Adirondack Almanack blog.