Bird banding in the Fort Morgan area operates during the critical migration season in mid-April.

This is the time when migrating birds return from their winter homes in Central and South America to breeding grounds in the United States and Canada.

It is estimated that 2.1 billion birds migrate across the Gulf Coast region each spring, spanning the area from Texas to Florida.

Fort Morgan is one critical stop along the migration flyway. Birds leaving from the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico make an overnight flight hundreds of miles long over the Gulf of Mexico and land on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Volunteer researchers and wildlife experts set up a series of fine mesh nets between the trees to capture, identify and catalog the birds. Each bird is fitted with a tiny metal band around with a unique identification number.

If the bird is caught again, researchers can tell where the bird has been and gather insight on how bird migration is impacted by changes in climate and habitat loss.

Sponsored by the Birmingham Audubon Society, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Mississippi State University with assistance from organizations such as Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism, the Alabama Historical Commission and the Mobile Bay Audubon Society, the annual event is open to the public and provides and opportunity for visitors to see some of the migratory birds up close.

View vacation rental properties in Fort Morgan, including dog-friendly houses, to be near all the wonders of the wildlife refuge, historic Fort Morgan and Fort Morgan area restaurants.