Field Trip: Coastal Bird Banding

Homeschool Field Trip Coastal Bird Banding

Remember our Reluctant Scientist Series with activities and field trips for students who don’t exactly love science? Here’s our latest installment! NGCHE has an opportunity to attend one of the most interesting conservation events along the Gulf Coast — Coastal Bird Banding at Fort Morgan.

Coastal Alabama is a stopping point for birds migrating long distances. Bird banding allows ornithologists to track and study the birds’ migratory patterns. The late Bob Sargent and his wife Martha began banding hummingbirds in the 1980’s in their own backyard near Birmingham. They expanded the project to collect data on a wide variety of species crossing the Fort Morgan Peninsula on their spring migration over the Gulf of Mexico.

Coastal Bird Banding Collage

The Coastal Bird Banding event allows the public a unique opportunity to observe the capture, banding, and release of migrating birds. Stations around the site will give visitors an up-close, personal look at the process. Researchers will be available to explain the steps, answer questions, and educate visitors about conservation efforts.

NGCHE has the opportunity to attend this year’s event. Dr. Andy Coleman, Program & Science Director for the Birmingham Audubon Society, recommends that we attend on a weekday. Because weather will be a factor, he also advises that we wait to choose the exact day we plan to attend. Please pencil in the 17th – 20th of April and stay tuned for an official announcement of the date as the event draws closer. See the Birmingham Audubon Society’s article Coastal Bird Banding for more information about this year’s event.

What can we expect to see in the nets? Just a few of the possibilities include bluebirds, buntings, Chuck-will’s-widows, eagles, fly catchers, gnat catchers, hummingbirds, kestrels, nuthatches, owls, swallows, tanagers, thrashers, thrushes, vireos, warblers, wrens… and more.

Visitors should bring adequate water, food, sunscreen, and bug repellent. Chairs or blankets are also suggested. There is no charge to attend the Bird Banding, but an admission fee is required to enter Fort Morgan park.

To join our mailing list for this field trip, drop us a line at Please include “Coastal Bird Banding” in the subject line. Families on our list will be the first to know when we set an official date for our group’s attendance.

Children of all ages are welcome. Parents of youngsters be advised that the banding will take place in and around the coastal forest. Be prepared to keep an eye on your little ones so that they do not wander into the wooded areas and get lost.

Plan to bring your family, friends, neighbors and join us. Everyone’s welcome in our group. We look forward to learning together about the birds that visit our local habitat.

© 2017-2018 Northern Gulf Coast Home Educators

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