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Urban Birding and Endangered Species Day Celebration at Minnesota Valley NWR
Midwest Region, May 21, 2016
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Bird house completed (with Mom's help) and ready for occupants!
Bird house completed (with Mom's help) and ready for occupants! - Photo Credit: Jill Utrup, USFWS
Participants enjoyed learning about raptors from the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center.
Participants enjoyed learning about raptors from the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center. - Photo Credit: Jill Utrup, USFWS
Nick Utrup with Twin Cities Field Office helps a young visitor in constructing his bird house.
Nick Utrup with Twin Cities Field Office helps a young visitor in constructing his bird house. - Photo Credit: Jill Utrup, USFWS
Alaina Vouaux with Minnesota Valley NWR talks with visitors about duck identification at the
Alaina Vouaux with Minnesota Valley NWR talks with visitors about duck identification at the "Ducks on a stick" station - Photo Credit: Jill Utrup, USFWS
Flying birds kites!
Flying birds kites! - Photo Credit: Alaina Vouaux, USFWS
A young visitor shows off her owl face!
A young visitor shows off her owl face! - Photo Credit: Jill Utrup, USFWS

In May, we celebrate the importance of migratory birds on International Migratory Bird Day and endangered and threatened species on Endangered Species Day. On May 21, visitors to Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge celebrated both! This year’s celebration was also extra special since 2016 marks the Centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty, a landmark agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico to protect our shared migratory birds. This event was one of many included in the Urban Birding Festival of the Twin Cities, a week-long celebration that provided many opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy birds and birding. One of the local TV stations, KARE 11, interviewed staff and provided a preview of the event on their evening news program, which drew more attendees to the event.

Service staff from the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Twin Cities Ecological Services Field Office and Regional Office Ecological Services and Migratory Birds programs came together to make this a fun-filled day for visitors of all ages to celebrate, interact with, and find out more about how to help our feathered and imperiled species friends. Families were able to build a free bird house just in time to be used by a wren or chickadee family. Also, there were several stations set-up where attendees could learn more about migratory birds and endangered species, including “Ducks-on-a stick” duck identification,” Whoop it up with Whoopers!” whooping crane reintroduction information, endangered species trivia, and bird habitat matching, along with face painting, crane origami, and bird kite crafts. Many families enjoyed getting out to see and hear bird species new to them on the guided bird hikes led by Service staff and Audubon Minnesota along refuge trails. One of the highlights of the day was a live raptor show, where the audience was able to see raptors from the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center up close, including a bald eagle, eastern screech owl, kestrel and a red-tailed hawk. This event not only provided information about migratory birds and imperiled species, but also highlighted the refuge’s presence. One visitor said that although she works within walking distance of the refuge, she had never visited until this event and now plans to come back to visit regularly with her young daughter.


Contact Info: Jill Utrup, 952-252-0092, ext. 207, jill_utrup@fws.gov
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