National Wildlife Refuge System
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On many national wildlife refuges across the country, International Migratory Bird Day events will encourage novice birders to appreciate the needs and habits of migratory birds
On many national wildlife refuges across the country, International Migratory Bird Day events will encourage novice birders to appreciate the needs and habits of migratory birds..
Credit: Sue Bonfield

Big Day for Birders

Scores of National Wildlife Refuges across the country will be holding festivals and other special events in early May to mark International Migratory Bird Day (IMDB), which will be officially observed on Saturday, May 8. The day highlights the migration of nearly 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. This year's theme, Power of Partnerships, celebrates the many collaborative efforts underway that benefit bird conservation.

The Service's web site at http://www.fws.gov/birds/imbd/ provides action tips, events and links to partners. Many refuges are planning birding festivals and celebrations; here is a list of just a few:

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio: An inaugural 11–day festival (May 6–16) is jam–packed with workshops, talks and guided activities (http://www.biggestweekinamericanbirding.com/), many of them focusing on warblers. http://midwest.fws.gov/ottawa or 419-898-0014

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia: A bird festival (May 6–8) features guided bird walks, refuge tours, photography and birding workshops and night events. Pre–registration is required for guided tours and workshops. http://www.fws.gov/northeast/greatdismalswamp/ or 757-986-3705

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge: Come out for the 18th Annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival (May 6–9), Alaska's largest wildlife–viewing festival (http://www.homeralaska.org/events/kachemakBayShorebirdFestival/). The celebration is for birders of all ages and skill levels with workshops, field events, presentations and guided hikes and walks, as well as boat, kayak and bus tours. It also includes numerous art and entertainment events. http://alaska.fws.gov/nwr/akmar/index.htm or 907–235–6546

Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin: The Horicon Marsh Bird Festival (May 7–10) will focus on introducing visitors to many of these birds at the peak of the spring migration (http://www.horiconmarshbirdclub.com/birdfest/birdfestival.cfm) and includes guided birding hikes, bus and boat tours, kids activities, bird banding demos and live birds of prey.
http://www.fws.gov/midwest/horicon/ or 920–387–2658

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Iowa: Celebrate birds at the refuge on Saturday, May 8, by participating in bird hikes and making bird crafts. http://www.fws.gov/midwest/nealsmith/ or 515–994–3400

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois: Visit the Pigeon Creek Education Center on Saturday, May 8, 9:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., and learn about the red–tailed hawk, one of the most abundant and widespread hawks in Illinois. Enjoy family friendly bird walks, bird house building and bird crafts and games. http://www.fws.gov/midwest/craborchard/ or 618–997–3344

Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, New York: The Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex and Friends of Wertheim will host their annual IMBD celebration, offering hourly activities featuring canoe trips live bird demonstrations, performances and more for the public on Saturday, May 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. http://www.fws.gov/northeast/longislandrefuges/index.html or 631–286–0485

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon: Visit the refuge on May 15, 10:00 a.m. — 2:30 p.m. for a day of outdoor activities, guided nature walks, live bird education show, native plant sale, hands–on crafts for kids, exhibits, presentations, entertainment and food. http://www.fws.gov/tualatinriver/ or 503–625–5944

Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, North Dakota: The 5th Annual Burke County Birding Festival (June 11–12) will have guided birding tours and activities for children (http://www.burkecountynd.com/birdingfestival/index.html).

Pre–registration is preferred to accommodate for lunch, and for only one activity per time slot. http://www.fws.gov/lostwood/lostwoodnwr.htm or 701–848–2722


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