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Refuge to offer a variety of bird programs

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In celebration of National Bird Day on January 5, and to recognize some of the other wildlife that frequents the National Elk Refuge, winter naturalists have scheduled a line–up of programs to highlight the avian species that inhabit the Refuge both seasonally and year–round.

 


In celebration of National Bird Day on January 5, and to recognize some of the other wildlife that frequents the National Elk Refuge, winter naturalists have scheduled a line–up of programs in January to highlight the avian species that inhabit the Refuge both seasonally and year–round. National Bird Day was established to provide public education and support for conservation of the world’s bird populations.

The National Elk Refuge has partnered with the Teton Raptor Center to bring live birds to the Visitor Center for “Feathered Friday” visits throughout the winter, beginning on Friday,  January 8. Guests will have an opportunity to learn more about birds of prey within an arm’s length of live avian ambassadors from the non–profit organization. At least two of the Teton Raptor Center’s resident birds will enhance the weekly informal presentations led by raptor experts, which will include a description of species people may see on the Refuge. Programs are scheduled from 12:00 - 2:00 pm.

A series of displays will be on exhibit in the upstairs theater of the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center throughout the month. The displays will change each week, with a focus on raptors (January 3–10), waterfowl (January 11–18), and songbirds (January 19–31). The displays will be accompanied by activities appropriate for a variety of ages and levels of knowledge related to bird identification. In the same theater area, guests can enjoy a rotating selection of bird–related films.

During each Sunday of the month – January 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 – naturalists will lead a short interpretive walk around the visitor center and the North Park lawn to explore the wildlife that lives beneath the snow as well as the aerial predators that seek them out for food. Reservations are not required, but warm layers and waterproof footwear are recommended. The easy walks are scheduled from 1:00 – 2:00 pm.

Anyone interested in a longer tour can book a naturalist–led excursion onto the National Elk Refuge to learn about birds and the unique adaptations that allow them to winter in this area. The birding excursions will be offered on Saturday, January 16 and Thursday, January 28 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Naturalists will have binoculars and field guides to share, but guests are encouraged to bring their own supplies if available. Participants should be appropriately dressed for the outing, which will include frequent stops in and out of the vehicle. The trip will include travel into areas of the Refuge generally closed to the public. Reservations are required; please call the Refuge naturalist reservation line at (307) 201-5406.

On Sunday, January 10, Biologist Ross Crandall from Craighead Beringia South will present research on lead levels in local raven and eagle populations. Crandall will give an overview of his organization’s research, noting how elevated blood lead levels correspond with area hunting seasons. Crandall will also discuss the voluntary non–lead initiative on the National Elk Refuge and have ballistics gel on hand to compare fragmentation between copper and lead bullets. The one-hour program is scheduled from 11:00 am-12:00 pm. 

Look for a fun photo opportunity on Thursday, January 14 when Puddles the Blue Goose will make a special appearance at the Visitor Center from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. The Blue Goose has been the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System since it first was drawn by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist J.N. “Ding” Darling, one of the greatest proponents of wildlife conservation in the 20th century. Darling was the first chief of the U.S. Biological Survey, the forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For more information on January programs, please call the Refuge naturalist reservation line at (307) 201–5406.

 

 

Last Updated: Dec 30, 2015
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