The peak of bird research at Riveredge coincides with the spring migration. Many volunteers and citizen scientists participate in various types of bird counts and banding programs that contribute to local, statewide and national surveys. Our bird research programs include our annual Birdathon/Bandathon, MAPS program, bluebird box monitoring, Christmas Bird Count, and the Natural Areas Breeding Bird Survey.

Birdathon/Bandathon

This event occurs annually in mid May and kicks off the start of the birding/banding season. The object of this event is to count and/or band as many species of birds as possible on the property during a 24-hour period.

MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship)

MAPS Bird Banding crew, Saturday mornings throughout the summer.

MAPS Bird Banding crew, Saturday mornings throughout the summer.

Started here in 1999, the MAPS national banding program uses “constant effort mist-netting” to provide annual estimates of post-fledgling productivity, adult survivorship, and the population size for both resident and migrant bird species. Our site covers about 10 hectares and banding occurs over the course of seven ten-day periods throughout the summer. 

Looking for more info on the MAPS program across the country? Click Here.

Bluebird Box Monitoring

A trail of 25 bluebird boxes is also monitored weekly from April to September. The purpose of the trail is to increase the production of bluebirds and other cavity-nesting birds on the property. Data has been collected at Riveredge since 1980 and analyzed to determine such things as habitat management, box design, or the best box placement options.

For more information on bluebirds, download the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin Information Packet here.

Bird Counts

The year is brought to a close by another annual tradition, the Christmas Bird Count (CBC). From dawn ‘til dusk teams of birders count winter birds in the field or at their feeders. Results of the count are used to study the effects of seed crop fluctuations, weather, and the influence of humans on bird populations.

The Natural Areas Breeding Bird Survey has been done here since the late 1980’s. Its purpose is to determine breeding bird densities along Riveredge Creek four times during June & July.

If you are interested in participating in MAPS, CBC, or other bird related programs, please contact Mary Holleback at mholleback@riveredge.us or call (262) 375-2715.

UW-Platteville Partnership plattville

Riveredge has teamed up with students from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Biology Department to analyze up to 30 years of survey data. Click on the links below to see what the spring 2012 Ornithology course found out using Riveredge’s Christmas Bird Count data.

Annual Precipitation and Bird Population

Precipitation Effects on Winter Bird Species Utilizing Christmas Bird Counts