The Black Swamp Bird Observatory considers its banding program a “feather in its cap.”
Located in the remnants of the once vast Great Black Swamp region of Northwest Ohio, Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the appreciation, enjoyment and conservation of birds and their habitats through research, education and outreach.
The Observatory’s long-term research projects have shed much light on the mysteries and complexities of the bird migration. Our research staff has banded more than 500,000 birds in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, making it the largest operations of its kind in North America.
“We band more birds than any other station in the country on a regular basis,” Kim Kaufman, executive director of the BSBO said. “That’s a feather in our cap, but what it really represents is how important that the Lake Erie Marsh Region is to migratory birds.”
A banding demonstration will take place May 14-15 during this year’s Biggest Week in American Birding event at the BSBO. Kaufman said banding at Magee Marsh typically takes place on Saturdays, beginning the first weekend in April through the end of May. The BSBO’s website, www.bsbobird.org, has information on banding times.
Banding is used to study bird migration in Northwest Ohio, Kaufman said.
“The birds are captured safely in soft nets,” she said. “Volunteers help remove the birds from the nets and record data such as weight and wing measurements. We age the birds if we can and try to tell what sex they are, and then the birds are released. Our main research station is located behind the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station. We’ve been banding there seven days a week during spring and fall migration for more than 20 years.
“We offer songbird banding demonstrations at the observatory during the Biggest Week. Beyond that, every weekend during spring and fall migration we host demonstrations here at the bird observatory on what the research does, what it’s for and how it works, and we offer those free to the public. It’s a great thing to bring your whole family to; the kids love it. And it’s a great opportunity to see these beautiful birds up close. They’re really fun events and it doesn’t cost a thing to come out and experience this.”
BSBO’s research staff has advised both private and governmental land managers on proper management techniques to best serve the needs of migratory birds. Our long term data set has provided critical support for conservation easements across Northwest Ohio.
The Observatory’s education and outreach programs have received national accolades. Our strong focus on youth education is highlighted by our Wetland Investigation Network (WIN) program, which offers FREE school programs for students grades K-12 and provides a day-long exploration of the entire marsh ecosystem, including songbird banding studies! Our highly acclaimed Ohio Young Birders Club (OYBC), for ages 12-18, encourages, educates, and empowers our future conservation leaders. The OYBC is serving as a model program for many other state-wide youth birding clubs.
BSBO’s Birds & Business Alliance is helping to promote local businesses to the tens of thousands of visiting bird watchers that travel here every year for the spectacular bird watching. The program creates awareness within the business community of the economic importance of birds and birding in this area, and in turn, helps build strong support for conservation initiatives.
Essentially, BSBO is a vital link in connecting people with nature. We offer the chance to make a meaningful difference for the environment through our many volunteer opportunities, working together to safeguard our natural world for future generations.
BSBO is proud to be a host of the Biggest Week In American Birding and help to promote this spectacular region to birders around the world.
To learn more about Black Swamp Bird Observatory and how you can get involved, visit their center located just inside the entrance to Magee Marsh Wildlife Area at: 13551 West State Route 2 * Oak Harbor, Ohio 43449.