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YRARF Banding Workshop 2014

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Building on the popularity of the previous three year’s mist-netting and banding during harvest operations, this year the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival will again offer a bird banding workshop designed to improve novice and intermediate banders’ knowledge of bird molt and teach skills to successfully age birds in the field. The workshop is co-sponsored by National Audubon Society’s Louisiana Audubon, Baton Rouge Audubon Society, and the Louisiana Bird Observatory. The workshop will be led by Dr. Erik I. Johnson (Louisiana Audubon), who has helped develop an age coding system for tropical birds in collaboration with Peter Pyle, Brandt Ryder, and Jared Wolfe.


The workshop is divided into four parts:


Classroom Session.

Thursday, 30 October, 6:30pm – 9:00pm.

Meet and greet the instructor, banding assistants, and workshop participants over coffee and dessert to introduce the workshop at the quaint “The Lodge at Thornwell” located in Thornwell, Louisiana - Yellow Rail Capital of the World. Interactive classroom session introduces bird banding, bird plumages and molt, and how to age and sex birds in the hand. 



Field Session I.

Friday, 31 October, 7:00am ­– 11:00am (weather backup day for Field Session 1 is
Saturday, 1 November). Workshop participants will practice techniques discussed during the classroom session.  This field session will provide hands-on experience. We will set up and move mist-nets to capture rails, sparrows, and other bird species along the edges of cutover rice fields, field edges, or woodlots. We will actively flush birds into nets, as well as learn how to place nets in areas to passively net birds. To participate in these activities, some physical activity will be helpful, but not required. Birds captured will be assessed in hand for age, plumage, and molt. Data collected for each bird will be recorded using North American Bird Banding Manual. Workshop assistants will be available to help answer questions and work closely with workshop participants.



Field Session II and III

Friday, 31 October and Saturday 1 November 11:30am – 4:30pm 
(weather permitting)

On each day, we will set up nets along field edges during rice harvest operations to capture and band rails, sparrows, and other species flushed from rice fields by the combine. These activities and banding demonstrations will be open to all YRARF participants, but only workshop participants will be directly involved “behind the scenes” working with the instructor and assistants during these mist-netting operations.  






Cost includes registration for festival and Banding Workshop activities as outlined above.  The Banding Workshop is NOT considered a Festival Package and does not include items offered in packages including combine rides, receptions, or complimentary field trips. 

Lodging is not included.


Workshop participants are responsible for their own transportation, food, and beverages.


Rubber knee boots are highly recommended for wet or muddy terrain, as well as to provide protection against fire ants. Participants should dress appropriately for field conditions and be prepared for hot or cold weather.


Limit: 20 participants





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  • 2 months later...

THE 2014 YELLOW RAILS AND RICE FESTIVAL on 30 Oct to 2 Nov 2014 will offer a bird banding workshop designed to improve novice and intermediate banders’ knowledge of bird molt and teach skills to successfully band and age birds in the field. This unique banding experience will focus on wet grassland and marsh birds, including the secretive Yellow Rail, as well as Sora, Virginia Rail, Nelson’s Sparrow, and Le Conte’s Sparrow among others. The workshop is co-sponsored by Audubon Louisiana, Baton Rouge Audubon Society, and the Louisiana Bird Observatory, and proceeds will be used to support Yellow Rail research and conservation. The workshop will based out of Jennings, LA and will be taught by Dr. Erik I. Johnson who is part of a team developing an international age coding system for birds and has authored several other papers advancing the knowledge of molt in temperate and Neotropical birds. The cost of the 3-day workshop is only $125, but does not include lodging or meals. For more information and to register, please visit http://www.snowyegretenterprises.com/Snowy_ Egret_Enterprises/Banding_workshop.html or email Erik (EM: ejohnson@audubon.org).

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