Saturday May 8th marks the opening of the 35th season of bird banding at Crown Point on the shores of Lake Champlain. Master bander Mike Peterson will be absent while he continues to recover from a stroke, with Gary Lee and Gordon Howard carrying on in Mike's absence.
Last year, 57 species and 457 individual birds were banded, which was a bit below expectations. Most notable for their absence last year were Yellow-rumped Warblers with just 20 individuals banded. Since 1976, a total of 15,439 birds of 99 species (plus five subspecies or other forms) have been banded on the grounds of Crown Point State Historic Site.
Follow this link to read Mike's report on the 2009 banding season. Last year I got up there one day to help out and was able to release a male hummingbird.
VISITOR HOURS AND INSTRUCTIONS
Gary and Gordon and the banding team welcome visitors on any days between Saturday May 8 through Saturday May 22. 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 and Gary Lee. 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 (now demolished) Crown Point Bridge (County Rte 903) and look for the Crown Point State Historic Site sign. 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. 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.