Between 1999 and 2004, Save the Dunes Conservation Fund's Miller Woods Bird Banding Program monitored migrating and breeding bird populations within a high quality black oak, dry-mesic sand savanna/woodland with ridge and swale topography. The objectives of this program were to collect consistent and reliable demographic and abundance data on the bird populations, to investigate long-term population trends, and to contribute to improved land management decisions at regional and national scales. The technique employed involved capturing birds in mist nets that were deployed for set periods of time at 17 net sites in two banding areas in Miller Woods.
During the course of this six year study, the fall migration capture rate declined significantly, suggesting that reduced productivity may have occurred in bird populations. There was a positive response during the spring migration to earlier spring wildfires, indicated by high capture rates in 2000 and 2002 that corresponded with fires affecting most of the bird banding net locations. For several common species found at the Miller Woods site, the ratio of juveniles to adults was compared to ratios at other banding stations in the north central U.S. Breeding site fidelity was documented for 20 species, all common breeders. Variation in capture rates among net locations demonstrated the role of the shrub layer within the savanna habitat mosaic during migration stopover.