Kalamazoo Valley Bird Observatory
The Kalamazoo Valley Bird Observatory (KVBO) is a program of the Kalamazoo Nature Center that is over 30 years old! Collaborative research between KVBO and government agencies, universities, and non-governmental organizations allows individual birds to be tracked as they move throughout North America. Surveys, banding, and parasite sampling allows researchers at KVBO to examine how environmental changes, pests, and diseases impact the distribution and demography of bird species.
Fall Migratory Bird Banding
Banding birds allows researchers to track and monitor migration patterns and population fluctuations. Additionally, birds make ideal research subjects for looking at changes in the environment, such as climate change, because their biology and life history has been extensively studied. The banding process involves recording physical data about the bird, such as weight, wing length, age, and sex, and placing a small, light-weight band with a 9-digit code on the bird’s leg. If a banded bird is recaptured, researchers gain valuable knowledge about where the bird has traveled. Furthermore, KVBO shares this data with a multitude of different banding programs and institutions, which allows individual birds to be tracked across state and international borders.
The Kalamazoo Nature Center’s bird banding efforts are part of the national Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program coordinated by the Institute for Bird Populations. Learn more.
Motus Wildlife Tracking System
If you are hiking in the Emma Pitcher Prairie, keep an eye out for a large antenna near the Kalamazoo Nature Center’s solar array! This is a piece of research equipment called a Motus receiver. The Motus receiver is a part of a collaborative automated radio telemetry array that picks up signals from small, flying animals, such as birds and bats, that have been outfitted with radio transmitters. The data picked up from the Motus receiver located at the Kalamazoo Nature Center contributes to the world’s largest wildlife tracking data sets, which allows researchers around the globe to better understand animal movement and behavior on a local, regional, and international scale. Learn more.