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The Puget Sound Bird Observatory currently operates a MAPS station at Morse Wildlife Preserve. The station operates annually in spring and early summer. The Morse station was started in 1996 and has been run continuously for 25 years.

The MAPS (Monitoring Avian Survivorship) program is a network of 500+ banding stations across North America which follow a standardized constant-effort mist-netting protocol. The stations are run by public agencies, private organizations and individual bird banders. The program was started in 1989 by the Institute for Bird Populations in order to study the relationship between bird productivity (number of young), survivorship (how long they live) and continent-wide fluctuations in bird populations.

There are approximately 500 MAPS stations in North America. Each station has 10 permanent net sites in a 20 Hectare (ha) area. Each station is visited once every ten days between May 31 and August 11. During a visit, all ten nets are run for six hours weather permitting, starting at sunrise.

Birds are captured using mist nets, which are special nylon mesh nets 12 m long x 2 m high. The birds are identified to species, banded, aged, have breeding characteristics assessed, and released. This monitoring program complements the National Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) program, providing data about how well a population is doing in addition to numbers of birds–data that can only be obtained from banding.

MAPS depends upon dedicated volunteers. Many people from around Puget Sound work the nets during the MAPS monitoring season. Volunteer tasks include data collection, aging and sexing, and record-keeping.  Extraction and banding by experienced banders only. Skilled volunteers are needed, but inexperienced volunteers are welcome to attend and observe. PSBO will provide limited training when possible. 

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MAPS Stations across the USA (Image courtesy of the Institute of Bird Populations

Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS)

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