Students and teachers from the Bay Area’s environmental education nonprofit, Vida Verde, recently visited TomKat Ranch. They met with a team of scientists from Point Blue Conservation Science to assist with bird banding efforts. What is bird banding? Bird banding is a way of measuring avian populations in specific areas. The process involves temporarily catching birds via a mist-net in order to place a small, unique numbered tag on the bird to enable individual identification. Scientists use this method to monitor and study life-span, survival rate, population growth, and behavior.

Bird banding has proven to be a potent indicator of wildlife health and abundance. Much like the proverbial canary in a coal mine, birds are sensitive to environmental changes and are well-documented inhabitants in most ecosystems globally: they are known as an indicator species.

PB_Bird_Banding-6-17.5b There are many indicators to look for in rangeland health; birds are particularly important when assessing the biodiversity of landscape and ecosystem function.

TomKat Ranch is proud to participate in this method of research. It helps us better assess the ecology of the ranch and better determine how our decisions affect the diverse wildlife we have on-site. This data provides yet another opportunity to help us understand and share our story of regenerative management practices.

We are also grateful to work alongside Vida Verde, which is a mission- and values-driven nonprofit that promotes environmental education and educational equity. They provide environmental learning experiences for students who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity. Student programs are exclusively outdoors, and solely for underserved children. You can learn more about Vida Verde here.