Urban bird demography project
The urban bird demography project seeks to understand patterns of survival and habitat use of urban birds in and around Morgantown, West Virginia. We do so by placing markers on birds that allow us to distinguish among individuals. We then re-sight marked birds and record the location where we found the bird. You can help us re-sight marked birds!
How to get involved
We have been marking Passerellidae sparrows at West Virginia University's Core Arboretum. If you see a marked marked bird, you can report it at the link below:
What species to look for
- Eastern Towhee
- Indigo Bunting
- Northern Cardinal
- Song Sparrow
- White-throated Sparrow
What to look for
Color-banded birds have a unique combination of leg bands that allow individuals to be identified. To report unique color combinations, you should pay attention to which leg a band is on (left / right), and the relative position (top / bottom) of the band on the leg. Left / right is determined from the bird’s perspective. Bands are always placed on the tarsus (lower leg), between the tibia (upper leg) and the toes. The band closer to the tibia is considered the top color band. The band closer to the toes is considered the bottom color band.
There will always be an aluminum USGS leg band on the left leg, and you should not report this band. There will always be two colored leg bands on the bird’s right leg. On this bird, the left leg band is green. The top right leg band is yellow. The bottom right leg band is blue.
Reporting Geographic Coordinates
All reported birds must include geographic coordinates in decimal degrees (for example, the WVU Core Arboretum is at approximately 39.645164 degrees latitude; -79.980250 degrees longitude). There are many free apps that will allow you to record coordinates. One that we like is Commander Compass, available for both Android and iOS:
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