National Bird Day

Yesterday was National Bird Day, so the college celebrated our one-of-a-kind LLCC Bird Banding Station on our social media platforms! From 2012-2019 we banded 24,875 birds of 126 species with hundreds of LLCC students experiencing the process of bird banding and understanding the importance of collecting this valuable data.

Five birds banded at the LLCC Bird Banding Station

Fall bird banding results issued

Below are a few of the highlights from the fall 2019 bird banding season, our 15th banding season at LLCC. (For a copy of the full, detailed report, email You will notice numbers were significantly lower than a typical fall season. We are hoping it is just an anomaly instead of a new norm.

  • 1,289 birds of 74 species were banded over 69 banding days this fall (this is significantly lower than our fall average of 2,208 birds banded over a similar time frame).
  • The above numbers translate into 18.7 birds banded/day (our typical fall average is 33.2 birds/day).
  • We had 269 recaptures (birds banded earlier in the fall or banded in an earlier season).
  • The oldest bird recaptured was an American Goldfinch that was banded during the spring 2014 season.
  • The top five species banded (based on the number banded) were: White-throated Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Dark-eyed Junco, American Robin and House Wren.
  • During the first weekend of November, we did a little nocturnal banding and successfully banded two owl species: one Eastern Screech Owl and one Northern Saw-whet Owl (our target species).
  • One new species was banded at the station (Bell’s Vireo) which brings our cumulative station total to 24,875 birds banded of 126 species.
  • Over 300 people visited the station over the banding season including LLCC students, Cub Scouts, and many other community members.

The spring 2020 season will begin March 19. You always are welcome to visit if your schedule allows!

Tony Rothering, professor of biology

Nocturnal bird banding

Eastern Screech Owl This past weekend nocturnal bird banding was conducted at LLCC in hopes of capturing some of the resident and migratory owl species, in particular a specific migratory owl (Northern Saw-whet Owl). Unfortunately, one of these owls has not been caught to date. But a resident species – Eastern Screech Owl – was caught. After banding and collecting various metrics, the owl was placed in a dark box outside the building for about 10 minutes to let its eyes acclimate to the darkness. When the box was opened, the owl flew off!

In the community

On Sept. 4, 7-8:30 p.m. Tony Rothering, professor of biology, will be providing a presentation on Adventures in Bird Banding as part of the Paul Mickey Learning Series hosted by the Illinois State Museum. He will discuss the purpose and methodology of capturing and banding birds, including current banding projects in central Illinois. The event takes place in the Thorne Duel Auditorium at the Illinois State Museum, 502 S. Spring St.

Bluebird houses installed on campus

Boy Scout Troop 210 and volunteers to install bluebird housesTony Rothering, professor of biology, worked with Boy Scout Troop 210 to install 28 bluebird houses on the LLCC campus in Springfield on Saturday, Aug. 24. The undertaking was Zach Rothering’s Eagle Scout project. WICS/Fox Illinois covered the event.

“Bluebirds like the habitat at LLCC, and adding these houses means more bluebirds will come to campus, likely roosting over the winter as well,” explains Professor Rothering.

This bluebird trail was completed by Zach Rothering as an Eagle Scout Project in memorial to his grandmother, Kay Rothering (A proud Alum of LLCC)The bluebird boxes were made by Rothering and his son Zach, and funded by memorial gifts for Rothering’s mother, Kay.

LLCC is the only community college in Illinois with a continuous bird banding research project on site. In cooperation with the Lincoln Land Association of Bird Banders, LLCC biology students can participate in the capture, banding and release of birds, recording information which is added to a massive data pool on bird migration patterns. The bird banding program began in fall 2012. Since then, more than 23,000 birds have been banded with the help of LLCC students and community members.

Zach Rothering instructing Boy Scout troop how to install the bluebird housesBoy Scouts installing final pieces of bluebird house

Fall 2015 Bird Banding Season Report

We had another successful banding season at the LLCC Bird Banding Station this fall! The highlights for our 7th banding season are below:

  • We banded over 69 mornings using anywhere from 15 to 30 mist nets
  • 2047 birds of 80 species were banded
  • 57 birds banded in previous seasons were recaptured
  • The average capture rate was 29.7 birds/day
  • We banded our 10,000th bird on 10/6/15 and it was a White-crowned Sparrow
  • The station total is now at 113 species banded with 2 new species being added this fall: Blue-headed Vireo and Cape May Warbler
  • Our banding facility is complete and we have been actively using it … especially on cold mornings
  • Additional information is in the attached LLCC BBS — 2015 Fall Final Report

Thanks to all who visited the banding station and/or supported our efforts in any way!! We plan to begin our spring banding season the week of March 21, 2016. We welcome visitors of all ages!!