In 2010, Dr. Jen Owen and her students began mist netting and banding birds at Rose Lake State Wildlife Research Area in Bath, Mich. After a few seasons, they realized they had found a special place with high bird diversity, especially during fall migration when many birds stop over to rest and refuel for their journey south. In the last three seasons they have captured over 8000 individual birds of 95 species.
In addition, they realized they had a unique and valuable outreach and education opportunity for the mid-Michigan community. In the last three years the station has hosted over 800 visitors of all ages, including young kids, university students and classes, high school students and retired bird enthusiasts.
The Burke Lake Bird Banding Station is dedicated to researching the health of birds during the migratory period, educating current and future wildlife professionals, and providing hands-on opportunities to connect the community with nature. The station is run by a group of enthusiastic students and professional field ornithologists who love sharing their passion for and knowledge of migratory birds.
Our goal is to be an established, nonprofit, bird banding station that will provide opportunities for research, education and training of students of all ages, and outreach to the broader mid-Michigan community.
In order to keep the station open for visitors, we need to have a crew that contains skilled field ornithologists who are qualified to capture and band birds, educate the public about birds and to train new student interns. The student interns gain skills that are critical first steps to help them become successful field biologists. By supporting this campaign, you are ensuring that we can hire a crew for the upcoming 2015 field season. The skills and experiences these students gain at the Burke Lake Bird Banding Station often lead to great careers as wildlife biologists — by donating to this campaign you are supporting the next generation of scientists.
Our highest priority right now is to raise funds to support our fall migration field season. Each fall field season costs $15,000 to operate. We have currently raised $10,000 and need to raise an additional $5,000 to support our season. More than 90 percent of the contributed funds will go toward paying seasonal field staff, many of whom are current undergraduate students or recent graduates of Michigan State University. The remaining funds help replace mist nets, banding supplies, and maintain our walkway through the beautiful wetland where our nets are located. However, if we raise more money it will be allocated to the 2016 field season.
“The Burke Lake Banding Station is a Lansing-area gem. In addition to doing important science that keeps us abreast of the health of bird populations, with all of its implications for understanding climate change and ecosystems in Lansing, Michigan, and the United States, staff members are fantastic. At every opportunity, they welcome children and show them how science interacts with nature. Visitors also get to see wild birds up close, something that should be a real treat for birders and nature lovers alike. For my children, visiting the banding station is the highlight of the week.”
Dr. Siddarth Chandra
Professor of Economics, James Madison College, MSU
“As the station coordinator, I have been involved in many aspects of Burke Lake Banding Station. The most important part of this work is the community outreach aspect. It is rewarding to be able to effectively communicate with people of all ages and backgrounds and teach them about avian ecology and conservation.”
MSU Fisheries and Wildlife graduate
“I volunteered and then worked at the Burke Lake Banding Station as an MSU undergraduate student. That experience helped me obtain a job as an avian field technician in Oregon, and now I am in Alaska where I wake up every morning to work with amazing people, and amazing birds!”
MSU Fisheries and Wildlife graduate
535 Chestnut Road, Room 300
East Lansing, MI 48824
*Make check payable to Michigan State University and write “Appeal 16CRFPR1BIRDSTA” in the note section.