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Keeping track of Montana’s songbirds

Posted at 2:18 PM, Aug 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-09 13:15:46-04

More than 420 bird species make Montana home and a long-term summer project helps to conserve songbirds.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park’s Graham Taylor catches and bands songbirds every summer and after 25 years he’s banded a lot of birds.

“I know it’s over — believe it or not — 20,000,” Taylor said.

Taylor records the species, sex, age and reproductive status along with putting a unique numbered band on each bird. The information is then sent into a national database which has banding stations across North America.

“You take several stations…and put that information all together and all of a sudden you can begin to understand that yellow warblers have a pretty good survival rate and maybe some other species doesn’t,” Taylor explained.

As one of the nation’s longest-running banding stations, Taylor’s efforts are continuing to help conserve North America’s songbirds.

“And the idea of being able to contribute to a larger cause, provides an understanding of birds that just isn’t possible in any other way,” Taylor concluded.

Montana has a total of five active banding stations.