Parking passes are required on Saturdays. The Orientation Center and Cafe are open Thursdays – Saturdays. Trails and bike rentals open Tuesdays – Saturdays. The property is closed to the public on Sundays and Mondays.

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Wildlife

US Department of the Interior Designates Duke Farms with a Federal Master Bird Banding Permit

The US Department of the Interior recently granted Duke Farms a special permit called a Federal Master Bird Banding Permit. This permit allows Duke Farms to catch wild birds, gather […]

Written by:

Nora DiChiara

Tags:

Conservation , Wildlife

Oct 10, 2023

The US Department of the Interior recently granted Duke Farms a special permit called a Federal Master Bird Banding Permit. This permit allows Duke Farms to catch wild birds, gather valuable samples, attach identification bands, and release the birds back into the wild. The process of tracking banded birds long term is a critical tool that enables scientists to delve into the study of bird populations and ecosystems.

Securing this permit requires many years of experience conducting high-quality research that adheres to a strict ethical code of conduct. It is a rare designation, usually found only in state wildlife agencies/nature centers like The State of NJ, Fish & Wildlife, and The Raptor Trust. Ownership of a permit is indicative of leadership and influence in avian studies through high-quality data and sample collection. With the permit, Duke Farms can have more influence on scientific research and wildlife government policies.

Avian research is crucial to understanding the variety of life, or biodiversity, on land. Birds are an excellent gauge of an area's health and ecosystem changes. Research on birds provides information on their breeding, survival, lifespan, and population trends. Duke Farms' avian studies have contributed samples and data to The Institute of Bird Populations (breeding data), The Bird Genoscape Project at Colorado State University (blood samples), Hawk Mountain (blood samples), Monmouth County Health and Rutgers University Laboratory of Vector Biology (ticks), NJ Fish & Wildlife; Endangered Species (data) and Fordham University (bacterial swabs).

Duke Farms has already shared its bird data with major research projects, including scientific studies like Decline of the North American avifauna (Science), which reported a 2.9 billion decline in bird populations. This data has also been used in many papers published by the Institute for Bird Populations. Our work, in partnership with the Rutgers Laboratory of Vector Biology, marks the first recorded identification of an Asian long-horned tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, in Somerset County. This resulted in the first-ever internal paper documenting the tick species found on the property and the quantity per bird species. All collected avian data improves habitats at Duke Farms to support rare bird species like kestrels, bluebirds and purple martins.

But most importantly, the permit allows Duke Farms to monitor the land, facilitating the organization's efforts to improve the ecology. The master permit at Duke Farms allows the expansion of avian studies beyond geographic limitations and into the realm of global stewardship.


Written by:

Nora DiChiara

Tags: Conservation , Wildlife

October 10, 2023