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Public Bird Banding Days Set at Chadron State Park, Wildcat Hills

A female orchard oriole is held by Alexandra Mayes, education coordinator for the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, while getting its photo taken by an attendee of last year's public bird banding demonstrations at Chadron State Park. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)
A female orchard oriole is held by Alexandra Mayes, education coordinator for the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, while getting its photo taken by an attendee of last year’s public bird banding demonstrations at Chadron State Park. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

The public is invited to get up-close and personal with bird populations at two parks in the Nebraska Panhandle this weekend and next.

Bird banding stations have been set up at Chadron State Park near Chadron and Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area near Gering. Attendees of special public banding days will watch and learn as biologists retrieve birds from nets, collect data, and fit each with a lightweight metal leg band before releasing it back to the wild.

The first of the public sessions will be Labor Day weekend — Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Sept. 5-7 — at Chadron State Park’s Sawmill Shelter. Wildcat Hills will have its public banding day at its big shelter house at the east side of the park the following week, Sept. 12. People may stop by to see the banders in action at any time between 7-11 a.m.

In addition to the public sessions, the stations also will play host to student groups in kindergarten through 12th grades by reservation.

More information may be obtained by contacting Alexandra Mayes, Bird Conservancy education coordinator, at alexandra.mayes@birdconservancy.org or 308-783-1019.

The banding stations, which are open to the public free of charge, are administered by the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, and cosponsored by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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