National Wildlife Refuge System

Refuges are for the Birds

Credit: Barry Kent McKay

International Migratory Bird Day
Refuges across the nation will host events to mark International Migratory Bird Day, which is celebrated this year on or about May 12. Here are a few examples:

  • Birding Festival
    Friday, May 10 to Monday, May 13 – Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, WI
    Take part in guided birding hikes, bus and boat tours, youth activities, bird banding demos, live birds of prey presentations, and other special exhibits.
  • Life Cycle of a Migratory Bird
    Saturday, May 11 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. – Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge – Savanna, IL
    Guided bird walk, tour new Great River Trail, photo documentary of sandhill crane, birding at Lost Mound (formerly Savanna Army Depot). Events free, but registration required for some activities – call 815-273-2732.
  • South Bay Bird Fest
    Saturday, May 11, noon to 3 p.m. – Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
    Take part in guided walks, games, crafts, face painting and other activities at the Alviso Environmental Education Center.  See a live bird show showcasing avian antics.
  • Bird Watching Trip
    Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 19, 8 a.m. – Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD
    Join an expert birder for a free guided bird-watching trip through the refuge. All levels of experience welcome. Bring binoculars and field guides. No preregistration is required. Meet at the visitor center.
  • Wings Over Muscatatuck Bird Festival
    Saturday, May 11 – Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN
    The 2013 festival will feature bird tours, children’s activities, live birds of prey, guided walks and interpretive programs, bird banding and other special events.
  • International Migratory Bird Day Celebration
    Saturday, May 11 – 7a.m. to noon – Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge, IA
    Kids activities, waterfowl presentation, eagle viewing, auto tour route open from dawn to dusk every day from May 6 - 12
  • Bird Walks
    Saturday, May 11, 7 a.m. to noon – John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, PA
    Join a volunteer-led bird walk to see and learn about species that use the refuge.  Spring migration peaks in May, as colorful warblers, vireos, tanagers, grosbeaks, buntings and orioles move through. The refuge’s bald eagle chicks will be about eight weeks old and getting ready to fledge in June.
  • Kenai Birding Festival
    Thursday, May 16 to Sunday, May 19, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. – Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, AK
    Share your interest in the birds on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. The area offers pristine beaches, beautiful state parks, a fantastic wildlife refuge and, best of all, thousands of birds. The festival includes a series of talks and birding field trips.

More events listed on the Special Events Calendar under International Migratory Bird Day.

Last updated: May 6, 2013