|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
April 30, 2002
4/30-5/3 Sharon Rose, 303-236-7917 x415
5/6 Karen Miranda Gleason, 303-236-7917x431
Dario Bard, 202-208-5634
INTERNATIONAL MIGRATORY BIRD DAY (MAY 11) CELEBRATES
SPECIAL PLACES FOR MIGRATORY BIRDS
Special Events to be held at National Wildlife Refuges around the Country
The Fish and Wildlife Service is "Celebrating Special Places for Birds" with hundreds of International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) events planned across the nation around the official date of May 11, 2002. The IMBD 2002 theme of "special places" reminds us that the conservation of birds requires that we provide and protect their habitats.
"International Migratory Bird Day is the perfect time to emphasize the need to set aside places for wildlife . . . and to get outside and experience these locations ourselves," said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams.
Birds are found all around us, in cities, farms, schoolyards, backyards, parks, roadsides, forests, beaches, and fields. They live wherever they can find suitable habitat space enough to find food, water, and cover. Migratory birds, because of their annual movements, require wintering and nesting habitats, as well as stopping points along their migratory routes. In some locations, birds may congregate in large numbers, providing curious human onlookers with breathtaking natural spectacles. Other locations harbor rare or secretive birds, and it is the lucky observer who spots the seldom-seen species.
The Services National Wildlife Refuge System provides the public with many of the best opportunities to see thrilling natural spectacles or witness a rare bird in nature. The National Wildlife Refuge System is comprised of 538 units encompassing 95 million acres of wildlife habitat, with at least one National Wildlife Refuge in every State. More than 200 of these refuges, along with the Services thousands of waterfowl production areas, were established specifically for migratory birds. Many are designated as Important Bird Areas under BirdLife International criteria (see http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/); as sites in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (see http://www.manomet.org/WHSRN.htm); and as Wetlands of International Importance, also known as Ramsar sites (recognized under the intergovernmental treaty signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971) (see http://www.ramsar.org). Finally, refuges are ideal locations to celebrate IMBD!
Information on National Wildlife Refuges is available on the internet at: http://refuges.fws.gov/ or call 1-800-344-WILD. Visit http://birds.fws.gov/IMBD/ to find out about activities specifically planned for IMBD at refuges and other sites.
IMBD was created to bring attention to the plight of dozens of birds whose populations have declined at rates exceeding two percent per year (resulting in a net decline of 50 percent or more) over the last 30 years, due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and other factors. IMBD is the hallmark event of Partners in Flight, an international coalition created in 1990 that includes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, other federal and state wildlife agencies, conservation groups, academic institutions, corporations, and private citizens dedicated to reversing these declines in migratory bird populations. Over the past decade, IMBD has grown to become the premier celebration of birds and their habitat in our hemisphere. IMBD is celebrated at hundreds of locations in addition to National Wildlife Refuges, including member facilities of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, the Baltimore Orioles Major League Baseball Park at Camden Yards, national parks and forests, city and state parks, bird sanctuaries, and other nature reserves.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. In addition to the National Wildlife Refuge System, the Service also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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