Baltimore: Lures Birds and Birders
Mist net on shore with Captain Trash Wheel and Baltimore skyline in background

This was the inaugural season of migration bird banding at Masonville Cove Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership campus in Baltimore, Maryland, managed by Birds of Urban Baltimore (BUrB), Between March 31 and June 10, 571 individual birds of 53 species were banded by members of BUrB, assisted by Chesapeake Bay Field Office urban biologist, Ela Carpenter, and trained volunteers and staff from Maryland Environmental Service.

Bird bander holds a yellow warbler in hand
Ovenbirds sits calmly in bander's hand

Early spring migrants like swamp sparrows, palm warblers, hermit thrushes, and yellow-rumped warblers. The most numerous bird species caught and banded were: common yellowthroat at 90; swamp sparrow at 58; gray catbird at 52; song sparrow at 44; and white-throated sparrow at 41. The most unusual catches of the season included: a grasshopper sparrow; a yellow-breasted chat; and a marsh wren. Some unusual captures for songbird banders included northern rough-winged swallow and barn swallow.

Mike Hudson (BUrB) shows children how mist nets work

On May 31, a Black Birder’s Week event was hosted at the campus inviting people to watch the process firsthand. Participants were able to observe the bird banding process up close and walk with the bird banders to check mistnets and bird watch along the way. Participants also got to watch all three of Masonville Cove’s recently-fledged bald eaglets practice flying around campus.

Mike Hudson (BUrB) shows participants a brood patch on a tree swallow

Patuxent Research Refuge was selected as the location for the Prince George’s Audubon Society, Patuxent Bird Club, Black Birders Advisory Group, and Experience Prince George's Black Birders’ Week walk. This special bird walk promoted diversity and inclusion in the birding community while highlighting the invaluable contributions of black birders and nature enthusiasts.   

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Urban refuge

Recreational Activities