Monday, May 16, 2011

International Migratory Bird Day

This Saturday is International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), an annual celebration of the migration of nearly 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. If you're new to IMBD or to birding in general, you're in luck! This year's focus is "Go Wild, Go Birding," chosen to highlight the involvement of new youth and adults in learning about birds, birdwatching, and bird conservation. For anyone interested in getting started, Environment for the Americas, organizers of IMBD, has great national and international resources for new birdwatchers, as well as a listing of free materials and activity ideas, including fact sheets, puzzles, games and coloring pages. The Nature Conservancy is also joining the celebration with this Beginner Birding Guide.

A family of geese at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center
Wisconsin is home to large numbers of migratory birds, many of which are in the process of nesting and hatching their new families this month. IMBD draws attention to the plights these birds face from habitat loss and other environmental issues. To learn more about issues affecting Wisconsin birds, visit the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, which also provides great useful trail guides, resourcesmaps and waypoints for birders in South-Central Wisconsin and across the state. The Migratory Bird Concentration Site from WI-DNR provides information about the protected status and location of Wisconsin's migratory birds.

While this day will be celebrated across the Western Hemisphere, there are plenty of things you can do on a local level too! Participate in the International Crane Foundation's Bird-a-Thon 2011, bringing birders of all ages and abilities to the backyard or field for a single day of identifying bird species - and don't miss the early morning bird hike at ICF! The WI DPI's Environmental Education in Wisconsin will be hosting Early Bird Nature Walks in the School Forest with their local bird guru each Tuesday this month. You can also find more local events and birding trails with IMBD's interactive map. If you can't make any of these events, you can use the birding resources above to plan your own birdhunt, or even bring the birds to your own backyard with the National Wildlife Federation's Beginner's Guide to Backyard Birdfeeding. Green your birding efforts by following these tips from the Urban Ecology Center.

Bring on the birds with a pinecone birdfeeder!
You can also get the little ones interested in birds with these fun craft activity ideas from Nature Net.

No matter what you end up doing, let us know what you learned and how you celebrated International Migratory Bird Day 2011. Happy birding!

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