The bird banding station at Ruthven Park was founded in the Fall of 1995 on a trial basis, and came into full operation for the Spring and Fall season of 1996. Much of its daily operation depends on volunteer effort. The station is situated on the grounds of Ruthven Park national historic site, about 100m from the historic mansion. The entrance to the site is located about 2 kms north of the town of Cayuga on Highway/Regional Road #54 (Latitude/Longitude: 425-0795).
The station is one of three banding stations that make up the Haldimand Bird Observatory. The other stations are: Dry Lake banding station, which is also located near Cayuga, and Rock Point Banding Station, which is located on the North Shore of Lake Erie in Rock Point Provincial Park. All three stations are within 40kms of each other.
The Ruthven Migration Monitoring station was developed:
- To monitor migrants during the Spring and Fall migrations following a standardized protocol determined by the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network. One goal is to analyze and identify interesting or important population trends of neotropical migrants.
- To monitor breeding/wintering birds at the site to provide baseline data for use in making decisions around land-use policy related to urban devlopment generally, and in the Haldimand region specifically. (Ruthven park contains over 1500 acres of land, half of which is forested.)
- To provide a training facility for students and other individuals interested in developing practical skills in field ornithology.
- To provide a learning resource to the local community to enhance awareness and appreciation of the local environment.
Daily Migration Monitoring Procedure
Migration monitoring follows a standardized protocol that includes each day:
- A structured census
- Bird Banding – following a ‘constant effort’ format
- The recording of general observations
The data generated from these efforts are used to create an ‘Estimated Total’ for each species on that day. The analysis of Estimated Totals is carried out by Bird Studies Canada. Banding data is maintained in a central data base overseen by the Canadian Wildlife Service and US Geological Survey.
The banding station at Ruthven runs daily in Spring from the beginning of April until early June, and in Fall from early September to early November. Typically migration monitoring and bird banding begins at sunrise and goes until about noon. Banding also takes place occasionally throughout the summer and winter seasons.
If you are interested in volunteering at Ruthven Migration Monitoring Station, please contact Rick Ludkin, the head bander, at rludkin at hotmail.com (insert @ where you see at). Also, feel free to stop by the station for a visit while we are operational in the spring an fall.