Contact: Joshua Winchell
May 9th marks this year’s observance of International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) and its theme of “Birds in Culture.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is joining numerous partners to recognize the cultural significance birds have in our lives and the motivation they have provided for people to become involved in wildlife conservation. The Service encourages individuals, corporations, and organizations to join ongoing efforts to conserve and protect Americas bird populations and celebrate IMBD. Hundreds of National Wildlife Refuges across the country will be hosting events such as bird walks, open houses, festivals, wildlife lectures and demonstrations.
“International Migratory Bird Day is celebrated annually on the second Saturday in May and focuses attention on migratory birds, the journeys they make between their winter and summer homes, and the importance of their conservation,” said Rowan Gould, Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We encourage people to visit their local national wildlife refuge, park or natural area to enjoy a bird walk or boat tour and learn more about the migratory birds they can see in their area.”
Conservation efforts for birds are becoming more critical. The newly published U.S. State of the Birds 2009 report finds dramatic declines of grassland (40 percent), aridland (30 percent) and ocean birds (39 percent). The report also documents a 50 percent decline in migrating shorebirds. Birds are economically important and a priceless part of America’s natural heritage – and they reflect the quality of our environmental health. The good news is some bird species may respond quickly and positively to conservation action.
The more than 350 events associated with this year’s observance are expected to draw in excess of 500,000 participants. IMBD is the largest-known bird conservation and education event of its kind in the Western Hemisphere and is coordinated by Environment for the Americas. For information on National Wildlife Refuge celebration events of IMBD events visit: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/SpecialEvents/FWS_SpecialEvents_Search.cfm