The Wascana MAPS station is situated in the Habitat Conservation Area within Wascana Centre. This is an area that has been set aside for wildlife. To monitor the health of the bird community that uses Wascana Marsh during the breeding season, the Wascana MAPS station was established in 2010.
The station follows the standardized procedures set out by the Institute for Bird Populations. It is one of 5 active MAPS stations in the province and one of over 400 active stations across North America.
Birds are captured using 10 mist nets that are placed in the same spots each year. Net locations are depicted above. Once removed from the net, the birds are taken back to the banding tent where they receive a uniquely coded band, are identified to species, aged, sexed and various measurements are collected. Then the bird is quickly released.
The goal of the MAPS station is to monitor the productivity of songbirds breeding in Wascana Marsh (ie how many young are produced each year) and the survival of the birds banded. Many birds return back to the Habitat Conservation Area year after year to raise their young and some of those young birds return to raise their own offspring in later years!
Mist nets are specially designed nets used to capture birds for scientific studies. The mesh size of the net varies depending on the size of bird being captured. At MAPS stations passive netting is used, meaning nothing is used to attract the birds to an area like a feeder or a decoy. Rather the birds just happen to be moving in the location where the net is set up.