CROWN POINT - Talk about bird-brained projects.
The Crown Point Banding Association recently completed its 34th season identifying and banding birds at the Crown Point State historic Site. The annual project is conducted with the assistance of the agreement of the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.
Located in thickets of hawthorn-juniper southwest of the British fort ruin, bird watchers identified 57 species and 457 individual birds this spring.
"There were returns of 30 birds of a dozen species banded at Crown Point in previous years, the oldest a Black-capped Chickadee and a Baltimore Oriole, each now at least five years, 11 months old," said Mike Peterson, who actually camped during May at the banding site along with Gary Lee.
They had plenty of help. Gordon Howard commuted daily from Auger Lake. Others who spent up to several nights at the station in order to help before dawn and until dusk included Tom Barber of Burlington, Wendy Burkowski of Bolton Landing, Carolyn and Pierre Cyr and Woody Cyr of Warrensburg, Rob Corey and Jo-Anne MacKenzie and Brenna Corey of Baie d'Urf , QC, Melanie McCormack of West Chazy, and Susan French Peterson of Montr al.
There were also school groups from Bolton, Minerva, Moriah and Whitehall as well as an environmental science class from North Country Community College that assisted.
More than 200 historic site visitors also took part.
Starting in 1990, students and other visitors who release a bird each receive a certificate. Since the inception of the program a total of 1,186 certificates have been issued.
If a released bird returns in a subsequent year, or is encountered elsewhere, the person is notified.
"Adult visitors sometimes recall 'their' bird, released as a child at Crown Point a decade or more ago," Peterson said.
MaryAnne Allen and Cecelia Wojciukiewicz of Witherbee assisted on days with school groups. Others who assisted included MaryAnne and Mike Allen, Rudy Bobka, Malinda Chapman, Stan Corneille, Judy Heintz, Gordon Howard, Dan Lee, Gary Lee and Bob Wei.
Since 1976, a total of 15,439 birds of 99 species (plus five subspecies or other forms) have been banded on the grounds of the Crown Point State Historic Site.