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Bird is the word: FWP pilots bird banding station at Spring Meadow Lake

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This summer, in an urban state park on the westside of Helena, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has been conducting a very visible research project. One that si welcome to the public and includes colorful birds and excited biologists.

The station is part of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship program, which captures birds for banding and data collection. Banding allows tracking of population trends, including survival, reproductive rates and movement patterns across the country.

This work has become important as a number of bird species are experiencing population declines, according to the Western Ecological Resource Center. The MAPS program provides crucial information to help biologists monitor and help species recover before it's too late.

There are up to 1,200 MAPS bird banding stations nationwide. The MAPS program has operated since 1989 and collected more than 2.5 million records. 

But, the banding station at Spring Meadow is unique, said Allison Begley, an avian conservation biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. The program is open for the public to observe the work and then assist with the release of birds.  

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Thom Bridge can be reached at


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