Floridians now can help launch a unique “Adopt-A-Net” Fall Migration fundraising campaign to benefit migrating birds, field research and community outreach.
The campaign includes sponsorship levels and opportunities for the public to help replace worn “mist nets,” essential to Cape Florida Banding Station operations.
Millions of songbirds stop at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park (BBCFSP) every spring and fall to refuel as they migrate north or south along the Atlantic Flyway, heading for North American summering habitats or southern wintering destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America.
Cape Florida Banding Station (CFBS) volunteer community scientists have been banding these neotropical migrants during their Fall Migration (mid-August through early November) since 2002. The station began operating under the Tropical Audubon Society Programs umbrella in 2020, and launched its first regular annual Spring Migration banding season in March.
Why Adopt-A-Net? Florida’s punishing sun weakens and damages the delicate, nylon mist nets needed to gently capture migrating birds for brief examination, documentation, banding and release. To help replace old, worn nets and other equipment essential to CFBS operations, the inaugural “Adopt-A-Net” sponsorship program was hatched.
“Adopt-A-Net donors can help make a lasting impact,” said Tropical Audubon Society executive director Paola Ferreira.
“The station is collecting long-term monitoring data that highlights the importance of protecting native habitat for migrating songbirds, especially within Miami-Dade’s urban areas. This field work is also crucial to understanding impacts of Climate Change on migratory birds,” Ferreira added.
Anyone interested in helping birds thrive can “adopt” one of the station’s 36-foot-long mist nets for $150, or commit to a half-net stake for $75. Funding is crucial for the fall banding season, which runs from Aug. 15 to Nov. 10. Adopt-A-Net sponsors will receive a season-end report and photos highlighting which bird species were discovered in the donor’s “adopted” net, as well as a list of all the bird species banded at the station during the Fall Migration season. Custom signs displaying each sponsor’s name will distinguish “adopted” nets for the duration of the season.
Full net donors who wish to step up to the $1,000 level will be invited for a private tour of the CFBS with Davis, and also receive an original work of art — one of her distinctive 9- by 12-inch framed field sketch watercolors featuring a Cape Florida bird species.
Davis, who holds a PSM in Environmental Policy and Management from FIU and has a passion for field sketching, said, “Adopt-A-Net was designed to educate the public about the indispensable research we do at the station, while raising funds to support this important work.”
All Adopt-A-Net sponsors will be recognized on Tropical Audubon Society’s and CFBS’s websites, as well as on the CFBS Blog (sponsors also have the option to remain anonymous).
Support CFBS today! (Link to form: https://support.tropicalaudubon.org/a/adopt-net)
Bird banding is the practice of capturing a bird, quickly noting its age, health, sex, size and weight, placing a uniquely numbered aluminum band around its leg and then releasing it. Banding enables a bird to then be identified if it is recaptured. Most important, banding enables researchers to study bird migration patterns, range, how long birds live and the impacts of climate change over time.
To safely capture migrating birds, 23 mist nets are set out at BBCFSP in an area covering approximately eight acres within a restored hardwood hammock. The birds that fly into the nets are carefully extracted, banded and released.
The data CFBS gathers helps scientists understand songbird migration patterns, and underscores the importance of the park’s restored native hardwood hammock to these migrants. Ideally located in one of the state’s most valuable Important Bird Areas (IBA) for migratory birds, the site yields crucial data that has been informing researchers, the public and civic leaders for nearly two decades.
Since its 2002 founding, the CFBS has operated with a federal master banding permit, state banding permit and park research permit, and has banded more than 35,000 birds representing 119 species, with an average of 1,900 birds banded every fall. Neotropical migrant warblers, vireos, thrushes, buntings, catbirds and flycatchers make up the majority of the species banded.
For more information about the Cape Florida Banding Station visit the website at https://tropicalaudubon.org/cape-florida-banding-station.