Give Wing to Your Wild Side!
America’s national wildlife refuges offer birders some of the finest winged paradises found anywhere in the world. Yet, we are always improving, and so we launched the National Wildlife Refuge System Birding Initiative in 2006 to help birders appreciate the value of refuges and, at the same time, help refuges recognize the value of birders as advocates, volunteers and economic supporters of local communities. Through the Birding Initiative, we believe we can help foster a better appreciation of refuges as premier birding locations and, along the way, help reconnect people to nature.
One of the Initiative’s first successes was a Memorandum of Understanding, signed in February 2008, with the nonprofit Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology to work together to promote birding, habitat conservation and citizen science. Through that partnership, we are offering nest watch programs, help with urban bird celebrations and the availability of eBird Tracker, an online network that allows birders to record sightings, consult video field guides and check seasonal lists of birds. Last year, we distributed 80 binoculars and birding guides so more refuges can lend these essentials to birders. Many refuges participate in The Big Sit! during National Wildlife Refuge Week, offer beginning and youth birder programs and provide birding guides or checklists.
- National Wildlife Refuge Birding web site
- Birding Around Your Home
- Birding on Refuges (including bird checklists and birding guides from individual refuges)
- Birding on the Road (including birding trails, America’s Scenic Byways)
- What’s Happening (including birding festivals)
- Birder Friendly Refuges (including Junior Birders booklet, backpacks, birding handout, Duck Stamp banner, information for educators, etc.)
Photographing birds and other wildlife
- Through the Lens (especially for young people)
- Nature’s Best Photography Students
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Celebrate Urban Birds
- order DVDs, educator kits, posters
- encourage people to complete surveys about birds they see in their back yards or at their local refuge
- find tips on planning local events
- learn about citizen-science projects
Local birding websites: