MAPS Research Stations


Morse Wildlife Preserve

The Puget Sound Bird Observatory currently operates a MAPS station at Morse Wildlife Preserve. The station operates annually in spring and early summer. The Morse station was started in 1996 and has been run continuously for 18 years.

About MAPS

MAPS station locations. Photo courtesy of IBI

The MAPS (Monitoring Avian Survivorship) program is a network of 500+ banding stations across North America which follow a standardized constant-effort mist-netting protocol. The stations are run by public agencies, private organizations and individual bird banders. The program was started in 1989 by the Institute for Bird Populations in order to study the relationship between bird productivity (number of young), survivorship (how long they live) and continent-wide fluctuations in bird populations.

There are approximately 500 MAPS stations in North America. Each station has 10 permanent net sites in a 20 Hectare (ha) area. Each station is visited once every ten days between May 31 and August 11. During a visit, all ten nets are run for six hours weather permitting, starting at sunrise.

Birds are captured using mist nets, which are special nylon mesh nets 12 m long x 2 m high. The birds are identified to species, banded, aged, have breeding characteristics assessed, and released. This monitoring program complements the National Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) program, providing data about how well a population is doing in addition to numbers of birds–data that can only be obtained from banding.

NOTE: PSBO conducted MAPS monitoring at McChord from 1996 to 2011, which is no longer active.


Dedicated volunteers from around Puget Sound work the nets during the MAPS monitoring season.Volunteer tasks include data collection, aging and sexing, and record-keeping.  Extraction and banding by experienced banders only.  Skilled volunteers are needed, but inexperienced volunteers are welcome to attend and observe. PSBO will provide limited training when possible. Please read our guidelines before you visit a MAPS station.