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Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day

Iowa Department of Natural Resources employee Dave Hoffman holds a trumpeter swan at a 2002 demonstration for International Migratory Bird Day at Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa.  The bird was later released as part of a swan restoration project.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources employee Dave Hoffman holds a trumpeter swan at a 2002 demonstration for International Migratory Bird Day at Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa.  The bird was later released as part of a swan restoration project.
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.”

  • 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 more about the refuge.

  • International Migratory Bird Day Celebration

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. The bird walk is limited to 24 people. 2) Hop on a refuge bus tour to see migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. The refuge tour is limited to 24 people. Call 575-835-1828 for reservations. Learn more about Bosque del Apache Refuge.

  • Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival

Thursday, May 5 to Sunday, May 8, Homer, AK
This four-day 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 more 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 more 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 more about Horicon 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 more about Great Dismal Swamp Refuge

  • Tualatin River Bird Festival

Friday, May 13 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 more 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 more about Bear 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 more about Muscatatuck 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 McNary Refuge, take part in bird games and activities about the amazing effort and obstacles birds experience on their migrations. At Toppenish Refuge, enjoy a hayride. Learn more about International Migratory Bird Day. Learn more about Toppenish Refuge and McNary Refuge.

  • Alaska Birding Festival

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


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