Bird Banding Ruthven Park

Grade nine science classes traveled to beautiful Ruthven Park and bird banding lab. The visit consisted of two parts: learning about the clams and mussels that live in the Grand River and watching bird banding.

Some highlights were:

  • Identifying some of the many species of clams and mussels that live in the Grand River, some of which are endangered.
  • A hike where we watched staff carefully remove birds from nets so they could be banded
  • A snake hibernaculum where snakes can hibernate over the winter in a safe place
  • A butterfly garden where invasive plants are removed and replaced with indigenous plants to attract butterflies
  • Watching the bird banders do their thing – weigh and measure the birds, check their age, sex and general health and then place a small band around the foot.
  • Holding and releasing the birds.

Did you know…

  • Not only do mussels provide food for raccoons, otters and other animals, they also filter bacteria out of the river.
  • When snapping turtles get leeches on their bodies, they lay in the sun son that the leeches dry out and fall off.
  • Banding birds helps researchers understand migration routes, where birds nest, the health of a bird population, climate change, and changes in bird behavior.