Friday, March 19, 2010

California birders needed for bird study

The California Department of Fish & Game seeks volunteers to complete a two-hour training course before trapping and banding Mourning Doves as part of a national study. Participants in the Mourning Dove Banding Program need to be 18 years old or with a guardian and have good organizational skills.

Volunteers will not pay a fee and can participate from the comfort of their homes between June and August. CDFG will provide all supplies after the volunteers complete the training and receive a legal bird handling permit.

The trapping and banding work usually occurs in the early morning (dawn to 10 a.m.) and the late evening (5 p.m. to dusk). Volunteers can work limited hours or only on certain days, and they can place traps almost anywhere, including their own yards. Traps must be checked within every hour it is set to avoid predation and summer heat exposure.

When a Mourning Dove is trapped, a volunteer will band its right leg, record the band number data and release it. The trapping season will end on Aug. 20, and all traps must be pulled by that date. CDFG will need all materials shipped immediately to the office at 1812 9th St., Sacramento 95814, for database entry.

All band recovery data is reported to the U.S. Geological Survey Bird Banding Laboratory, where it is added to the national database. Wildlife managers use this information to keep track of the species’ survival and harvest rates.

UPDATE: For more information about the program or to reserve a space at a training session, contact Heather Hlusak at hhlusak@dfg.ca.gov, 916-445-3445, or Karen Fothergill at kfotherg@dfg.ca.gov.

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