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Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day

Yellow warblers can be found widely across the continent each spring when the songbirds return north from their wintering grounds in South America. This warbler was photographed at Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Yellow warblers can be found widely across the continent each spring when the songbirds return north from their wintering grounds in South America. This warbler was photographed at Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Credit: USFWS

International Migratory Bird Day, observed on or about the second Saturday in May, calls attention to the remarkable journeys of some 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in North America and wintering grounds in South and Central America. Many refuges will host public events. To find an IMBD event near you, see the Bird Day Map. This year’s IMBD theme is “Go Wild, Go Birding.”

You can also use the “Find Your Refuge” feature on the Refuge System homepage to see if a refuge in your area has planned an event. Or go to the Visitors tab on the yellow bar at the top of the page, and click on Special Events in the pull-down menu.

  • May Day Fly In

Sunday, May 1, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Celebrate opening day of the refuge’s seasonal trail system. See how many birds you can find on a checklist. Volunteer naturalists will be on the trail with spotting scopes. They will also lead hands-on nature activities. Learn about Tualatin River Refuge.

  • Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival

Thursday, May 5 to Sunday, May 8, Homer, AK
Birding festival features workshops, tours, hikes and entertainment plus field trips to Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Birds to see include: rufous hummingbird, horned puffin, red-necked stint. Learn about Alaska Maritime Refuge.

  • The Biggest Week in American Birding

Thursday, May 5 to Sunday, May 15 — Northwest Ohio
This major bird festival features field trips to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Birds to see include the Kirtland’s warbler. Learn about Ottawa Refuge.

  • Horicon Marsh Bird Festival

Friday, May 6 to Monday, May 9 — Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, WI
Enjoy guided birding hikes, bus and boat tours, bird banding demonstrations and more.
Learn about Horicon Refuge.

  • Go Wild, Go Birding  

Saturday, May 7, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Celebrate migratory birds by joining in a bird walk at this refuge on the Pacific Flyway. Walks take about 3.5 hours, and will begin at the Visitor Center. Walks start at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon. Bring binoculars and cameras. Learn about Nisqually Refuge.

  • Virginia Birding Festival

Thursday, May 12 to Saturday, May 14 — Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, VA
Enjoy guided bird walks, owl prowls, refuge bus tours, photography and birding workshops and family activities. To register, call 757-986-3705. Learn about Great Dismal Swamp Refuge

  • Tualatin River Bird Festival

Thursday, May 12 to Sunday, May 15 — Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Enjoy nature photography workshops, a bike ride, river paddle trips, native basketry, nature journaling workshops, art and music, a winemaker’s dinner and a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator. Learn more about the event. Learn about Tualatin River Refuge.

  • Great Salt Lake Bird Festival

Thursday, May 12 to Monday, May 16 — Farmington, UT
This birding festival features field trips to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. See if you can spot a burrowing owl. Learn about Bear River Refuge.

  • International Migratory Bird Day Celebration

Saturday, May 14, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Choose from two activities: 1) Take a one-hour bird walk with naturalists at 8 a.m. Look for migratory birds such as warblers, orioles and kingbirds. Beginners are welcome. 2) Take a refuge bus tour to see migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Space is limited. Call 575-835-1828 for reservations. Learn about Bosque del Apache Refuge.

    A flashy red, the scarlet tanager likes to hide in the forest where its color is less conspicuous.
    A flashy red, the scarlet tanager likes to hide in the forest where its color is less conspicuous.
    Credit: Allen Dale/USFWS
  • Guided Bird Day Bicycle Tour

Saturday, May 14, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, MI
Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day with a guided bike tour of a portion of Wildlife Drive and the Ferguson Bayou Trail. Bring binoculars and water.  Bicycles with wider tires work best. Learn about Shiawassee Refuge.

  • Bird Day Celebration

Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, IA
Learn about birds and migration. Fun children’s activities. Learn about DeSoto Refuge.

  • Spring Songbird Migration 

Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge
Enjoy learning about some of the nearly 80 species of migratory songbirds that can be found throughout Massachusetts. The program will discuss wintering, migratory and breeding ecology of flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers and sparrows. It will also include a hike in search of these beautiful birds. Learn about Assabet River Refuge.

  • Wings Over Muscatatuck Bird Festival

Saturday, May 14 — Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN
The festival features guided bird tours of the refuge, bird walks, live birds of prey programs, kids’ birding activities and many wildlife-related interpretive programs. Learn about Muscatatuck Refuge.

  • International Migratory Bird Day Celebration

Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  — National Aquarium, Baltimore
Join staff from Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge at the aquarium to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. Admission will cover activities tracing the lives of migratory birds as they journey between their summer and winter homes. For more information, go to www.aqua.org or call 410-576-3800. Learn about Eastern Neck Refuge and Blackwater Refuge.

  • Celebrate Birds for International Migratory Bird Day

Saturday, May 14, 9 a.m. to noon — Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge, WA, and McNary National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Identify, count and observe bird species. At Toppenish Refuge, enjoy a hayride. At McNary Refuge, take part in games and activities tied to birds’ amazing migrations. Learn more about International Migratory Bird Day. Learn about Toppenish Refuge and McNary Refuge.

  • South Bay Bird Fest

Saturday, May 14, noon to 3 p.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Enjoy free guided walks, games, crafts and more. See refuge birds and their habitats up close. Learn how you can help birds. Alviso Environmental Education Center. Learn about Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Refuge.

  • Alaska Birding Festival

Thursday, May 19 to Sunday, May 22 — Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, AK 
Event includes field trips and a children’s program. Learn more about the event. Learn about Kenai Refuge.

  • Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds

Thursday, May 19 to Sunday, May 22 — Detroit Lakes, MN
This birding festival will feature field trips to Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District and Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge. Learn more about the event. Learn about Tamarac Refuge.

  • Migratory Bird Day

Saturday, May 21, 7:30 a.m. 3:30 p.m. — Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, VT
Help document migratory bird species on the refuge. Hear a talk about migratory birds.
Learn about Missisquoi Refuge.


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