U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service celebrates World Migratory Bird Day at the Denver Zoo!

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On May 11th, 2024 staff from the Migratory Bird Office and the Office of Communications of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with the Denver Zoo to celebrate 2024’s World Migratory Bird Day! FWS staff staffed a table (pictured below) that was paired alongside the Denver Zoo’s “Bird Friendly Coffee Station,” a play area for kids to engage with the natural environment, and a spotting scope station that afforded views of migratory birds that are currently at Duck Lake Island, located in City Park, Denver. 

This year's World Migratory Bird Day theme, "Protect Insects, Protect Birds", emphasizes the crucial role that insects play in providing energy for birds during the breeding season and during migration. Insects declines have significant consequences for bird populations. As a result, FWS and its partners must prioritize the conservation of insect populations, not just at breeding sites and along migration routes, but also throughout bird habitats, to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of bird populations.

During the event, over 300 zoo visitors, including many families with young children, attended the event. As the adults sipped on bird-safe coffee, they discovered that "bird friendly" coffee brands not only avoid pesticides that harm local insects, but also promote sustainable farming practices that preserve the natural habitats of birds. By leaving the coffee plantation canopy intact, these eco-friendly farms provide a haven for migratory and local birds to thrive, all while producing high-quality coffee.

Following the morning's coffee and education, visitors had the opportunity to engage with FWS staff and learn about the pressing issue of bird collisions with glass windows, one of the most significant threats to bird populations in North America. FWS staff provided valuable insights on how to prevent these collisions, and also distributed a range of fun and educational materials, including bird-themed temporary tattoos, coloring books, and World Migratory Bird Day posters (above). However, the real highlight of the day was the chance to spot majestic Double Crested cormorants on their nests. These colonial nesting waterbirds come to Colorado to breed and spend the winter as far south as Texas and northern Mexico.

Events like these are vital to the success of our Urban Wildlife Conservation Program as it gives our agency a chance to serve the public directly, engage with often marginalized communitiesand strengthen our partnerships with placebased organizations. It also strengthens the Urban Bird Treaty City status that Denver, Colorado has had since 2014 through our Urban Bird Treaty Program. Denver, located in the Central Flyway, is a vital area for migratory birds and provides urban bird habitat in its many parks, backyards, community gardens, refuges, and other urban green spaces.