Burke Lake Banding Station

Help us connect people of all ages with birds!

In 2010 we began mist netting and banding birds at Rose Lake State Wildlife Research Area in Bath, Michigan. After a few seasons, we realized that we had found a special place with high bird diversity, especially during fall migration when many birds stopover to rest and refuel for their journey south. During the last two years we operated our full array of nets, and captured over 6000 individuals of 90 species. We also saw that we were providing a unique outreach and education opportunity for the mid-Michigan community. In the last two years we had approximately 400 visitors of all ages, including young kids, university students and classes, highschool students, and retired bird enthusiasts.

Our goal is to begin an established, non-profit, bird banding station that will provide opportunities for research, education and training of students of all ages, and outreach to the broader mid-Michigan community. To achieve our goal, we have begun raising funds to support the short and long term operation of the banding site.

Consider a gift today! Contributions to the Burke Lake Banding Station may be made through MSU’s Online Giving site, linked here: https://www.givingto.msu.edu/gift/?SMID=A11130

We have currently raised $10,000 of the $15,000 needed for operation. Over 90% of the contributed funds will go toward paying for seasonal field staff, many of whom are current undergraduate students or recent graduates of Michigan State University. The remaining funds help replace mist nets and other banding supplies. Our goal, for this campaign is to raise $5,000.

With your support we will be able to (1) collect long-term data on the health of the landbird community of the Rose Lake State Wildlife Research Area during breeding and migratory seasons, (2) provide university students the opportunity to be active participants in ongoing research and learn skills associated with capturing and handling of wild birds, (3) engage with children of all ages with hands-on activities in a science-related discipline, and (4) provide a unique opportunity for bird enthusiasts in the Great Lakes region on state-managed land.


  1. Provide hands-on training for our future wildlife professionals, by teaching them how to capture and handle wild birds. Depending on the status of the on-going research there may be additional training in banding birds, collecting blood and tissue samples, examining birds for ticks, radio telemetry, and habitat sampling.
  2. Host field trips for university classes that provide not only exposure to techniques used in avian-based research, but more importantly, show them how those techniques are being applied for ongoing research projects; a component frequently missing from many college courses.
  3. Work with instructors and kids from K-12 schools, summer camps, 4-H groups, and others to provide an opportunity to connect with nature through hands-on activities, creating enthusiasm and appreciation for our natural resources and the intrinsic value of wildlife.
  4. Connect with a growing community of bird enthusiasts to enhance appreciation for and visibility of state-owned lands beyond the traditional, consumptive uses (i.e. hunting and fishing).
  5. Provide a venue for community building and the exchange of local, historical, and scientific knowledge.

Please help us spread the word!  If you know anyone that is passionate about birds and about educating the next generation of bird-enthusiasts, please tell them about Burke Lake Banding Station!