AUGUSTA — The 2015 Maine Birder Band is now available from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW). Maine’s Birder band is instrumental in helping protect birds, conserve habitat and provide access for birders throughout the state.
The authentic bird bands are similar to ones that biologists use to band wild turkeys and Canada geese. The band is meant to fit on a camera or binocular strap and has a unique number registered in the name of the buyer. If this item becomes lost, the finder can call the IFW number on the band, and the item can be returned to the owner. Over the years, this band has returned several pairs of binoculars and a set of car keys.
New this year, with the purchase of a birder band, there are some valuable added extras, including a day pass to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray and a day pass to Swan Island in Richmond.
Donations help Maine’s non-game birds. While some game birds, such as waterfowl, receive dedicated federal funds, over 90 percent of Maine’s 292 bird species do not. The Maine Birder Band has already generated over $20,000 that goes directly to helping protect Maine’s non-game birds. Money raised by the birder band can be used to leverage additional federal funds.
Over the years, the band has helped fund several conservation and educational projects, including the launch and maintenance of the Maine eBird Portal; grasshopper sparrows survey at Kennebunk Plains and the former Naval Air Station in Brunswick; research examining salt marsh sparrow nesting success in sites with and without tidal restrictions and Southern Maine shorebird monitoring focused on sanderlings, red knots, black-bellied plovers and ruddy turnstones.
Birder bands cost $20 each. Many birders have purchased a birder band each year since its inception in 2009. New this year, you can purchase the entire set of bands, 2009-2014 for $50. If you missed a year, you can also purchase individual past years for just $10.
To buy one, visit www10.informe.org/webshop/. They also make great gifts. To purchase one for someone else, call 287-8000, and we can take your order over the phone and ship it direct to you or to the recipient of the gift.