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About AREI

The Avian Research and Education Institute (AREI) is a non-profit organization (501C3) dedicated to enhancing the preservation of avian populations. Our mission is to protect and conserve avian populations through research, education and advocacy. To this end, AREI is committed to establishing biological stations that will provide bird banding and environmental education to the public.


Bird banding is conducted at four biological stations: the Hueston Woods Biological Station (HWBS) located in Hueston Woods State Park in Butler/Preble Counties, Ohio the Miami University Bird Observatory (MUBO) located on the campus of Miami Univweairy in Pfeffer Woods, Oxford, OH, the Clifford Bird Observatory (CBO) located on the picturesque hilltop of Mount St. Joseph, OH and the Montecarlo Biological Station (MBS) in the cloud forest of El Cielo Biosphere Reserve, Tamaulipas, Mexico. If you want to learn more, visit one of our banding stations, or contact us about becoming a volunteer.

Our volunteer staff currently includes: an Executive Director (who is also a bird bander), a Research and Education Director (who is a Master Bander), 1 Sub-Permitee Bander living in Mexico, and an extremely talented and dedicated crew of volunteers. AREI has a dedicated Board of Directors who selflessly contribute their time and energy to guide us in reaching our goals.

Our Mission

Our mission is to enhance avian populations through research, education, and advocacy.

Our Research Goals

  • Monitor migratory and breeding bird populations through banding and molecular studies

Our Education Goals

  • Provide a classroom without walls to students of all ages
  • Educate students and community members on the environmental and conservation issues affecting avian populations

Our Advocacy Goals

  • Use the knowledge gained from research to better manage bird populations and habitat
  • Design land management strategies that will enhance our natural heritage


AREI is based in College Corner, Ohio. It was established in 2004 through the vision and leadership of Directors Drs. Jill and David Russell. The first bird was banded in April of 2004.

Dave and Jill

Having birded Hueston Woods for years, Dave and Jill thought they had a pretty good handle on the birds living and migrating through Hueston Woods. However, one day they were introduced to Master Bander Tim Tolford and their interest was piqued. They spent a year training with Tim and then, working as subpermittes under Tim’s license, they set up their banding station at Hueston Woods State Park.

It all began as the two avid birders putting up 10 nets and a folding table as a banding station. To their surprise, they discovered many more species by banding than they had ever found bird watching. They realized the need to expand their operations.

By the end of 2004, 30 nets were put up every day. Soon friends, colleagues and students were asking to come to the banding station. Interested people from Miami University, the Talawanda School District and various birding groups began visiting the station. An old picnic table was donated by the Park management. A screened in tent was purchased to keep the mosquitoes and sun away.

Suddenly, their avocation became a vocation. Not that it paid any salary, but they found themselves teaching more and more people about birds every day. Guests began wanting to donate to the costs involved in running the banding station, and the Avian Research and Education Institute was born.