Photos: Band of feathers

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

An already tagged bird from one of 22 Pine Bush Preserve nets.

Like the canary in the coalmine, birds serve as sentinels for contaminants that can harm entire ecosystems, according to Evan Adams, of the Biodiversity Institute.

Working with MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship), the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is catching birds in mist nets so that they can be banded, released, and tracked. The Pine Bush Preserve has two of hundreds of stations that stretch across the continent. One in eight bird species is at risk of extinction, according to a Birdlife International report.

In 10 mornings, preserve workers banded more than 300 birds and recorded weights, measurements, and ages of the birds. The data show the preserve’s pine barrens support robust populations of many birds declining in the Northeast, including the prairie warbler, brown thrasher, and eastern towhee.


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