Featherbed Lane Banding Station -- History
Removing a bird from a mistnet, Sept. 2001
The Featherbed Lane bird banding station is located on the remains of an 180 acre farm on the
crest of the Sourland Mountains (elevation approx. 125 M or 440 feet above sea level)
in Hopewell Township, New Jersey. The farm's hayfields,
surrounded by wet woods, were abandoned at various times between 1959 and 1970.
Hannah B. Suthers began recording the birdlife of these fields in 1969, and mist
netting and banding was commenced in 1977. Identification
and surveys of plant life on the site began in 1974.
The juxtaposition and interaction of 80 acres of old fields flanked by
over 800 acres of woods that creates a diverse habitat that supports 74
species of breeding birds and provides food and resting area for 51
additional species of migratory birds.
When research on the site began, the property was owned by a developer.
However, sewer lines to this part of the Township were never built,
which precluded any concentrated development. In the late 1990's
the Delaware and Raritan Greenway land conservation organization purchased the
property from the developer and gave it to the county as a park. It is
now known as Sommer Park Preserve.