Bird Banding

Venture out into the wilds with local volunteer researchers.


Every month throughout the winter, MAWS (Monitoring Avian Winter Survival) Banding Stations are set-up in the South Fork Valley. Results are submitted to the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP). If you would like to volunteer please contact the expert bander to RSVP as dates may and often do change. Mist nets open just before dawn and stay open for seven hours. Volunteers do not need to attend the entire session. You are welcome to stop by and visit if you don't feel comfortable volunteering. Bring snacks (sharing with the researchers welcome), drinks, and bug repellent.  Monitoring Avian Winter Survival (MAWS)

The conditions that migratory birds experience on their wintering grounds may affect their annual survival rates, spring departure dates and subsequent productivity levels on their North America breeding grounds. MAWS, which began as MOSI (Monitoreo de Sobrevivencia Invernal) with 29 stations in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean in 2002-2003, has since expanded into the southern U.S. The Institute for Bird Population facilitates the development of both MOSI and MAWS programs. Monitoring goals are to provide, monthly, overwinter and annual survival rates as well as indices of late winter physical condition for 25 target landbird species. Management goals are to develop strategies for reversing bird population declines or maintain populations and to evaluate current management actions. The Kern River Preserve began operating a MAWS station in 2005.

Volunteer or visit: Join the volunteer crew for Winter Bird Banding at the Kern River Preserve beginning at dawn. Run by EREMICO Biological Consulting. The banding station is opposite the Mill Pond. Contact Denise or Bruce to volunteer: 760-378-4278


Each summer two teams open MAPS stations (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship). One station is run by the Southern Sierra Research Station and every 10 days (MAPS)researchers open nets along the Kern River Preserve nature trail. Another MAPS station is set up at Canebrake Ecological Preserve by EREMICO Biological Consulting as a volunteer project.

The MAPS program was created by The Institute for Bird Populations in 1989 to assess and monitor the vital rates and population dynamics of over 120 species of North American landbirds in order to provide critical conservation and management information on their populations. The MAPS Program utilizes constant-effort mist netting and banding at a continent-wide network of monitoring stations staffed by both professional biologists and highly trained volunteers.

Volunteer or visit: Join the volunteer crew for Summer Bird Banding at the Canebrake Ecological Reserve beginning at dawn. Run by EREMICO Biological Consulting. The banding station is along the ADA trail near the bridge.

Spring and Summer MAPS Banding project at the Canebrake Ecological Reserve.

Every two weeks in spring and summer you can volunteer to help this long standing volunteer effort to map the health of migratory and breeding birds. Contact Denise or Bruce for the schedule and to volunteer: 760-378-4278 or

How you can help, right now