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Experience Level



1-3 miles


5,000 feet

Registration Fee


Program Overview: This course offers a unique opportunity to participate in the Institute for Bird Populations’ (IBP) Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program. MAPS stations exist throughout the continent to assist in bird conservation with the use of bird banding.

Begin this multi-day adventure with a day of birding with a naturalist guide in Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy area. This will be a good chance to get familiar with the birds in the area before the bird banding demonstrations. Spend the next two days in Ackerson Meadow and at Crane Flat. Here you’ll be with the Institute for Bird Populations bird banders joined by ornithologist Sarah Stock,Yosemite National Park’s supervisory wildlife ecologist, for a close-up, hands-on look at bird-banding: the special technique scientists use to track and study birds. You’ll see researchers remove birds from mist nets, carefully place a band on the bird’s leg, and measure and record information about each individual. Our biologists put the safety and care of these birds first — they care deeply about the birds and are well-trained to avoid stressing them during this process.

By the time your course wraps up at midday on Friday, you’ll have a deeper understanding of songbird conservation, bird identification techniques, and the role that resident and migratory birds play in healthy ecosystems. With another night at your campsite, you can spend the rest of Friday and Saturday birding in the park on your own or with some of your new friends from the course.

Know Before You Go

  • Program dates: Wednesday, June 12 from 7:30 am – 2 pm, Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14 from 6-11 am each day.
  • Program location: Hodgdon Meadow, Ackerson Meadow and Crane Flat
  • What’s included: Three full days of guided instruction by a Yosemite Naturalist, one free day to enjoy the park on your own, park entry (as needed), and shared tent camping (camping dates cannot be altered). There is no discount if you choose not to use the included gate pass or campsite.
  • Camping dates: Participants can arrive on June 11 after 12 pm and must depart June 16 by 11 am. There are two shared campsites among all the participants. We guarantee tent camping only. If you choose to bring a recreational vehicle, we cannot guarantee you will have a parking spot. Please be prepared to tent camp. A picnic table, bear locker and fire pit are provided at each site. Campsites fit 6 people per site.
  • Campground location: Hodgdon Meadow Campground
  • Lodging: Upgrade to Rush Creek Lodge for an additional fee. Lodging dates match camping dates. Lodging blocks expire 30 days prior to the program. Details on using our Group Code to book lodging will be emailed to you immediately after you register.
  • Experience level: All levels welcome.

*This three-day program includes five nights of camping. Make the most your trip by enjoying an extra free day, June 15th, to explore on your own.

What’s not included:

  • Gear or meals during your program.
  • Camping gear or meals in the shared campsites.
  • Transportation.

View a suggested packing list.