Training birdwatchers, researchers and guides
Monitoring bird migration and their numbers by banding
To inform the visitors of the research station about the project
Promoting love of nature and environmental consciousness of the local people
Birds are one of the most well known, easily studied and striking living beings. Increase and decreases in birds’ numbers is the indicator of the environmental health. Bird watching tourism is a very important income in many countries. Helping the students to gain research experience and the local peoples to understand natural richness of the area, bird research projects are also very important for biology education, ecotourism and promoting environmental consciousness.
What is bird banding?
Bird banding is monitoring bird migration and fluctuation in their numbers by catching birds with very thin but non-harmful nets and putting rings which every one of them has a different number on it so they act like as a identification and made of light-weight, stainless aluminium to birds’ legs. Millions of birds were studied for more than 100 years by this method. Country name and banding stations address are written on the ring so if a banded bird have catched or found dead, this ring shows where the bird came from. For example in 2003 a bird has been ringed in Samsun and been found dead in Africa in the same year and thanks to its ring the origin of the bird has been determined. Turkey National Banding Program (UHP) coordinates bird banding in Turkey. You can get more detailed information about banding from UHP’s website. If you’ll find a banded bird, please inform the number and the address to UHP.
Tel: +90 0312 419 86 03
Address: KAD, PK 311 06443, Yenişehir/Ankara
What we do in a banding station?
- Species identification
- Bird banding (identification)
- Determining sex and age
- Wing and tail measurements
- Weight and fat proportion
- Moult state
- Orientation experiments
- Guest training
Aras Bird Research and Education Center Aras River bird banding program is the first bird migration project in the Eastern-Anatolia region. Our study is conducted at Aras Bird Research and Education Center in the village of Yukarı Çıyrıklı (Iğdır) near the Aras River, which separates Iğdır and Kars. 3287 bird from the 68 species has been ringed in autumn 2006 at Aras the only banding station in Eastern-Anatolia. A Song Thrush, banded at Aras station in September 2006 has been shot by a hunter at Cyprus in November 2006 and reported to authorities, and again this is the first in Eastern-Anatolia. Also this is the first bird, which is ringed in Eastern-Anatolia and been found in Cyprus.
Aras station is a official member of SEEN, which is formed by 24 countries included Turkey. The founder of SEEN and educator in Gdansk University, Prof. Dr. Busse has visited Aras station in 2006 for 1 month and helped on our studies. Educator in Gdansk University, Dr. Jaroslaw Nowakovski has also intensively attended our bird banding research at Kars and Iğdır since 2005.
Each point shows a retrapped bird. Although it has been estimated that %56 of Robins (Erithacus rubecula) which banded in Poland moves to south east, most of the retraps occur in Western-Europe because there are much fewer banding stations in the east. This situation causes to misunderstanding the migration routes. Reference: Busse et al. 2001.
Bird watching is observing, identifying and investigating birds by using bird identification guides and binoculars. Being one of the most common hobby in the world (46 million people in U.S.A.), bird watching promotes love of nature and because it requires walking in the nature, also it’s good for human health. For many successful scientists observing birds regularly were the first step to their careers and also by this kind of observations it was possible to discover many important environmental changes like pesticides’ harmful effects to humans. Actually British government uses bird number fluctuation in farmlands as one of the 15 life quality measures. Although the number of birdwatchers in Turkey was back in 10-15 years no more than 20 but increased to recently more than 500, it’s still very small number compared to millions of birdwatchers in U.S.A. and Europe.
Because of that, the other important objective of the project is developing bird watching in Kars, Iğdır, Artvin, Ardahan and Ağrı cities. For accomplish that objective, as a result of efforts since 2004, Kafkas University Bird Watching Club (KUKGT) was founded with that universities students and gained official status this year. As in its first year, KUKGT was a great success and by the bird observations at Kuyucuk Lake and Aras station in World Bird Watching Day (7-8 October), the club has the most attendances among the other bird watching clubs around Turkey. Besides in that important day Kuyucuk was the place where the most birds counted in Turkey. Thanks to rapidly advancing bird watching around Kars, in Turkey bird data bank http://www.kusbank.org/ observation data’s from Kars, Ardahan and Iğdır are increasing rapidly. You can get more detailed information about bird watching in Turkey at www.kustr.org or by joining Toygar yahoo group.
Station features (characteristics)
Station name: Aras
Coordinates: 40º07'16''N 43º35'00'' E
Organization: Kafkas University Biology Department, Stanford University, Iğdır Directorate of Environment & Forestry
Habitat: Separated from Aras river by a set, wetland contains ponds, willow trees and mirages. Ground contains muddy parts and lime soil. Because of the valley which the station is situated, is arid and has no vegetation, the station is very important shelter for migrating birds. Foundation date: August 2006
Station responsibles: Dr. Cağan H. Şekercioğlu, Dr. Mehmet Ali Kırpık