Tracking local bird population on Rushton Farm

    Rushton Farm sits next to one of the largest woodland tracts in Pennsylvania’s Chester County, making it ideal for bird banding.

    The birds are safely captured in large nets, stretching 20 feet into the woods right next to the open fields. Once removed from the nets, the birds are then placed in small cloth bags for transportation to a bird banding station. At the station, the birds are examined to determine sex, weight, age and wing measurement.

    Each bird has or receives a small, light, aluminum band with a tag number that goes around its leg. This tag number is matched to the birds measurements in a book, allowing the bird taggers to track and monitor the birds over time.

    For migratory birds, the information is entered into a database that logs the catches and allows bird banders to track the birds across the North America.

    In addition to bird banding, Ruston Farm hosts Philadelphia schools, educating children about the important impact birds have on the insect population, the birds’ natural environment and migration habits, and allows the students to see the beauty of birds up close.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.