Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship


The Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program was created by The Institute for Bird Populations in 1989 to assess and monitor the population  of over 150 species of North American birds to provide critical conservation and management information. The MAPS Program uses a standardized fine gauge mist netting and banding program. This program runs continent-wide through a network of monitoring stations staffed by both professional biologists and trained volunteers.

Since 2003, Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge has been involved with the MAPS program. During the summer breeding season (May - August), a banding station is operated by refuge staff and volunteers. At this location, once every 10 days, fine gauge mist nest are used to capture songbirds. They are then carefully removed from the nets and given a small leg band with an identification number on it. Data such as species, age, sex, and health condition are recorded for each captured bird. The results of this monitoring effort helps determine population trends in many species of migratory songbirds for the overall data collection in the MAPS program, but the data can also assist with forest management at the Refuge level as well.

Through the years some of the most interesting captures include a Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Bobwhite Quail, and American Robins. While they are not a targeted species in the Refuge's banding program, often Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly into the nets. These tiny and beautiful birds require a very special sized leg band; therefore, they are immediately released once removed from the net and simply listed as an unbanded capture on the data sheet.

Over the the years popularity of the MAPS program on the Refuge has grown in the local community. The Refuge now receives many request from various school groups and boy/girl scout troops for field trips to the Refuge for a demonstration of the bird banding efforts. If you have a group interested please contact refuge headquarters.

For more information about the MAPS program, follow this link to the Institute for Bird Populations website.




Refuge Data Summary 

Year  Total  New      Recaptures
 Totals2,582 2,001 581


Facts About Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship

The most frequently caught species on the Refuge is the Acadian Flycatcher.

Another top capture is the Kentucky Warbler, which is pictured above.

Volunteers and staff walk an average of 9 miles during a single banding session.

Banding efforts cease for rain, high wind, or extremely hot conditions to ensure the safety of the birds.