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Conserving nature through science and outreach


We currently offer bird banding training opportunities as part of our programs at Iona Island Bird Observatory for individuals of beginner, intermediate, and advanced skill levels.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to:

  1. Improve their bird identification skills by sight and sound
  2. Learn how to extract birds from mist nets
  3. Learn how to band birds and collect measurement, age, and sex data
  4. Interact with other naturalists and biologists

Volunteers who start as beginners will initially scribe (enter data), observe and learn by watching the banders, and practicing bird handling. As they progress with these skills (usually after a couple of sessions), you’ll advance to extractions and applying bands to birds under supervision. Volunteers can be promoted to intermediate level after demonstrating a proficient level  in the skills of extraction (i.e., able to successfully achieve the majority of extractions with little supervision) and banding, as assessed by our banders.

All interested people who wish to volunteer are welcome to participate in WildResearch’s programs. To cover operational costs and liabilities, all volunteers are required to become members of WildResearch ($30.00 for students and $35.00 for non-students per year). All WildResearch members are given access to IIBO’s volunteer scheduling software, Better Impact, allowing them to sign up for volunteer shifts at IIBO.

To learn more about additional benefits of membership, click here.

Please note that due to bird safety protocols, bird banding cannot be conducted during heavy rainfall or during high wind conditions. In the event that the bander in charge decides to cancel banding the morning of, the bander will remove the shift from the volunteer calendar, and you will receive an email notification from Better Impact.

No special equipment is required, but please come prepared for an early start (50 minutes before sunrise) and the outdoor conditions. Waterproof footwear are highly recommended.

Binoculars, a field guide, and a lunch or snack would be advantageous.

Please review this brief document to learn more about What to expect for new volunteers at IIBO. 

All volunteers are strongly encouraged to read the North American Banders’ Study Guide, published by the North American Banding Council. The Banders’ Study Guide and the other specialized guides (passerines, raptors, shorebirds and hummingbirds) are required reading for anyone banding birds in North America and can be found here.

Please contact for more information.