About Us


The VARC Molt Portal is an open source web portal which provides a searchable database in English (and Latin) of the bird species banded at the Vancouver Avian Research Centre’s banding station in British Columbia, Canada.

Each species account provides comprehensive information on identification and molt and ageing of birds in the hand using high resolution photographs with precise information and detailed instruction on ageing using molt and plumage criteria. Designed as a study tool for VARC volunteers for use at the research station and is an invaluable teaching/training for those wishing to volunteer at the station.


The user can search for the required species (Common or Latin name) and once the species is found the content for each species is broken in to several segments:

  1. Identification information primarily for our researchers and volunteers working with birds in the hand – this section includes:
    • Song
    • Range map
    • High quality photos (including a carousel of additional photographs forming a gallery of high quality images of each species)
    • Notes on similar species
  2. Ageing & Sexing – this section is the flagship of each species account containing a molt summary, high resolution wing photos with arrows pointing to retained/replaced feathers, detailed descriptions of molt sequences and comprehensive instructions and tips to accurately age landbirds in the hand.
  3. General banding information and terminology – this section provides an index, information on ageing and sexing techniques and explanations of the terminology used in the site.


VARC operates with a wide open-door policy with regard to collaboration with other banding stations and researchers who are invited to add their photographs and/or species to the site. Our goal is to maintain each species account in an identical format with the same high quality images and accuracy of information.