Science Technology

Bird Bander - VIU Bird Banding Project


The Summer Assistant Bird Bander contributes to the VIU Bird Banding project and learns avian field techniques, including mist-netting, bird identification, live bird handling and banding.

Position Requirements

 The VIU bird monitoring and banding project was established in 2013.  Learn more about the VIU Bird Banding project.

The main objectives of this project are to:

  1. Monitor migrant and resident birds to contribute to regional and continent-wide efforts to monitor changes in their populations
  2. Provide practical training opportunities for VIU students and community volunteers
  3. Conduct public demonstrations where people of all ages can learn about bird identification, ecology, and conservation

Much of this project focuses on the live capture-and-recapture of songbirds, and identification, leg banding, and taking biometric measurements.

The main project activities are conducted at the VIU bird banding station at Buttertubs West Marsh in Nanaimo, and other additional research sites may also be visited.  Project activities take place 1-3 days per week (weather-dependent) and each day usually begins before sunrise and lasts 4-6 hours.  All monitoring activities are conducted in accordance with procedures established in the VIU Bird Monitoring and Banding Manual, and as approved by the VIU Animal Care Committee.

Volunteer bird banders contribute actively to achieving the project objectives, work closely with the bander-in-charge and gain valuable experience in many aspects of avian field techniques. 

These techniques include:

  • Mist-netting
  • Bird identification by sight and sound
  • Live bird handling and banding
  • Age and sex determination
  • Morphological measurements
  • Nest monitoring
  • Behavioral observations

Graduate Attributes Associated

Students in this position will gain skills in creative thinking, collaboration, active learning and capacity to engage in respectful relationships.

Sign Up Directions

Students must contact the project leader directly (Dr. Eric Demers) with expressions of interest.   

Dr. Eric Demers, Professor, Co-Chair, Biology department