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    National Park California

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  • Big Oak Flat Road is closed; no access to Yosemite via Highway 120 from the west

    The Big Oak Flat Road is temporarily closed west of Crane Flat; there is no access to Yosemite via Hwy 120 from the west (except to Hetch Hetchy). Tioga Road is open and accessible if entering the park via Hwys 41 and 140, and Hwy 120 from the east. More »

  • Campground Closures Due to Fire

    Crane Flat, Bridalveil Creek, and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds are temporarily closed. All other campgrounds, including Hodgdon Meadow, are open. More »

Bird Monitoring and Research: Summer 2012

July 05, 2012 Posted by: Yosemite Bird Researchers

Yosemite National Park provides essential habitat for over 165 species of migrating, wintering, and breeding birds, in addition to nearly 100 species recorded as transient or vagrant. For nearly two decades, the breeding populations of songbirds in Yosemite have been studied in one of the longest continuous research projects in the park. Each summer, from late May to early August, researchers work at bird banding stations throughout Yosemite. They collect valuable information about bird populations in Yosemite by capturing, banding, and then releasing birds following a strict scientific protocol. This year, this important work is being funded by the Yosemite Conservancy. 

There are six banding stations which are located near important breeding habitat in meadows at a variety of elevations, from 4,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level. The researchers catch birds in mist nets consisting of a very fine mesh. For six hours, starting at sunrise, each banding station operates a series of mist nets that are set up near where birds are nesting or foraging. Mist netting is a passive capture method that traps only the birds that fly into it. The nets get checked on a regular basis to make sure the birds do not injure themselves. Special training is required to handle birds. Researchers have strict standards to follow when removing birds from nets and handle them with the utmost care to prevent injury.

The following photos show experienced bird researchers banding a variety of bird species. Visitors to Yosemite should never handle wild animals and should always maintain a safe distance when viewing wildlife. 

Hermit Warbler

Hermit Warbler  Hermit Warbler

Hermit Warbler   Hermit Warbler wing

Red-Breasted Sapsucker

Red-breasted Sapsucker  Red-breasted Sapsucker

Williamsons Sapsucker

Williamsons Sapsucker  Williamsons Sapsucker

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler  Yellow-rumped Warbler


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Did You Know?

Cars and campers in a meadow in Yosemite Valley.

Unrestricted camping is no longer allowed in Yosemite Valley because of damage it causes. The placement of campgrounds and campsites has changed over the past 75 years in response to a growing understanding of river dynamics, geologic hazards, and the park's natural and cultural resources.