Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory Celebrates its 20th Year
20 years ago, on March 22, 1998, Jim Gruber banded the first bird at the Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory. The honor went to an after hatch year Carolina Chickadee of unknown sex. What began more or less as a one man show has evolved into a team effort by Jim, Field Ecologist Maren Gimpel, a team of volunteers and many Washington College interns.
Monitoring both spring and fall migration, the station has now banded over 256,000 birds of 171 species and has provided 26 paid internships to Washington College students since 2008. FBBO has received an average of 500 visitors in recent years, including many local clubs, Washington College classes and college students from the mid-Atlantic region, including University of Maryland College Park and Dickinson College.
Data from FBBO has been used in peer-reviewed scientific articles and the observatory has collaborated with researchers studying topics ranging from how birds may be helping ticks expand their range to whether light pollution affects bird migration.
In addition to the 26 internships we’ve offered to Washington College undergraduates, FBBO staff has mentored local teens and several young professionals from the region who sought us out for the hands-on training we can provide.
FBBO is located on Washington College’s River and Field Campus just minutes from Chestertown. For daily updates from the field, please be sure to follow their social media accounts.
For more detailed information on the station and bird banding, please see their website: