A bird banding station is at Panola Mountain State Park in Rockdale County. Volunteers and visitors are welcome to attend bird banding sessions. For the most up to date schedule, please contact the lead bander, Charlie Muise.
This bird banding station is a part of the MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) program. Visit the Institute for Bird Populations for more information about this continent-wide network.
Please bring adequate water and snacks for 6-8 hours in the field. Both sites are grasslands with minimal shade, so sunscreen, visored hat, and long pants are recommended. If you choose to use insect repellent or sunscreen, you must apply it at home and wash it off your hands after application. Birds and banding equipment cannot be exposed to these kinds of chemicals. There are no facilities short of bushes and trees.
Bird nets are hard to see and easy to destroy. If something on your body snags the net as you walk by, it will cause a very large hole in the net. Please wear clothing with minimal zippers, buttons or Velcro on the outside. Remove watches and any jewelry which can catch a net. As you walk by nets, please give a LOT of space to the net, especially if someone is removing a bird.
While only experienced individuals are allowed to remove a bird from a net, we have lots of important tasks for all participants. This may include carrying gear, holding a bag with a bird in it, taking notes for the bander, etc. If you come, you’ll be put to work! In the interest of keeping our birds safe, please do not touch any bird without prior approval of the bander.
Equipment and supplies are obtained through donations, grants, and “roadside shopping” (we recycle many things!) If you are interested in making a donation to the bird banding operations, please consider these items: hand sanitizer, rope of the sort which we use, plastic stakes, folding chairs which can be left outside, and sewn bird bags.
The most help is needed at the very beginning and end of the day, when we set up and take down nets. Please arrive on time.
To the banding site at Panola Mountain State Park (Rockdale County) from the south: Take SR 155 north from McDonough about 15 miles. Just before the main entrance (which is on the right side of 155) turn right on Alexander Lake Road. Follow several miles to the end. Take a left at the “T”. You will immediately come to a gate. Wait there to be let in, or call Charlie’s cell phone.
To Panola from the north: Take I-285 to route 155 south. Look for and pass the main park entrance on the left, then take the next left on Alexander Lake Road, as above.