Current Projects

Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)
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We are studying the scaly-breasted munia populations in the Southeastern United States. In our study area, these birds can be classified as "exotics", meaning a non-native species. Most likely introduced by escapees from the pet trade, we are monitoring their current population status as well as studying their morphology, dispersal rate, and overall "life histories."

As part of this study, we are employing the use of several tracking techniques in addition to using federal bands: color bands, RFID bands, and the smallest radio transmitters available. These devices help us identify individual birds without having to recapture them. Re-sight information is invaluable to this project because individuals can be tracked by trail cameras near feeders to record presence/absence data. We also rely on community scientists and birders who report any banded birds that they may observe at their feeders. As long as we have a photo of one of our color banded birds, we can determine where and when we banded that bird. Keep an eye on our blog section for recent updates on this project and how you can help!

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Fort Morgan Bird Banding

In the fall of 2019, BCA Co-founders Emma Rhodes and Kyle Shepard ran a pilot banding station at the Fort Morgan State Historic Site near Gulf Shores, Alabama. BCA hosted the public bird banding event again in 2021. This is an opportunity for folks to watch research in action and to learn more about migratory birds and see them up close. Please watch for updates and details of the event as it gets closer! This is a free event. 

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Pictures from our 2019 fall banding effort. Left: Philadelphia Vireo. Right: Emma and a volunteer recording data.

Left: A Brown-headed Nuthatch about to be released at Fort Morgan. Right: A male Common Yellowthroat. 

Migration and Urbanization Study

Orange Beach, AL

This project is closed to the public because it takes place on 14 acres of private property mostly comprised of cypress swamp and mixed bottomland hardwoods. As neo-tropical migrants fly northbound from Central and South America, this site offers a stopover site for tired birds to pause, rest, and refuel before continuing to their respective breeding grounds. It plays the same role as migrants move south to their wintering grounds.

We launched our pilot study of this property in April of 2020, and it showed enough promise to continue monitoring this site as the areas surrounding it becomes more and more urbanized. "Bird Hotspots" or stopover sites like these are essential to the survival of migratory bird species. Deforestation does not just affect migrants on their breeding and wintering grounds but also every single place they stop in between. Keep an eye on our blog section for updates on this project! 

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