More than 420 bird species make Montana home and a long-term summer project helps to conserve songbirds.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park’s Graham Taylor catches and bands songbirds every summer and after 25 years he’s banded a lot of birds.
“I know it’s over — believe it or not — 20,000,” Taylor said.
Taylor records the species, sex, age and reproductive status along with putting a unique numbered band on each bird. The information is then sent into a national database which has banding stations across North America.
“You take several stations…and put that information all together and all of a sudden you can begin to understand that yellow warblers have a pretty good survival rate and maybe some other species doesn’t,” Taylor explained.
As one of the nation’s longest-running banding stations, Taylor’s efforts are continuing to help conserve North America’s songbirds.
“And the idea of being able to contribute to a larger cause, provides an understanding of birds that just isn’t possible in any other way,” Taylor concluded.
Montana has a total of five active banding stations.