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International Migratory Bird Day

The International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) originated with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, but is now coordinated by the Environment for the Americas (EFTA), a non-profit organization that works throughout the Western Hemisphere to share information about birds and their conservation. IBMD has the support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and many other bird conservation and education partners. The first IMBD celebration was hosted at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. in 1993. Informa-tion on the IMBD is found at www.birdday.org.

What? International Migratory Bird Day is a celebration of the wonder of bird migration. It is an occa-sion to educate the public, especially the young, about bird migration. Each year has a different theme with its own artwork. Most IMBD events include bird walks. While on the walk, it is easy to share with participants the importance of gathering accurate information about birds and the value of observations. Here is where many members of the public could first learn about other bird counts such as eBird and the Christmas Bird Count. EFTA provides an easy-to-use format for a Spring bird count and migration bird education event.

When? Each year, IMBC in USA and Canada is held on the second Saturday of May when many birds are migrating north. Other days can be selected for an event if that day is not the best time. An organization or site may plan a bird festival on that day or another one that fits well for them. Events now are held year-round for IMBD.

Who? Organizations that want to encourage and promote bird conservation can participate in IMBC. Nature, wildlife, and conservation centers are natural places to stage an event celebrating bird migration. So are bird observatories, raptor centers, museums, zoos, bird stores, garden shops, state and national forests, and schools. Bird and nature clubs, garden clubs, and Audubon Chapters are likely par-ticipants. These organizations need volunteers to lead ac-tivities including bird walks. You do not need to be an ex-pert to lead a good bird walk and the IMBD website helps prepare anyone to be successful at this worthwhile activity.

Where? IMBD is celebrated throughout the Western Hemisphere including the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America. In the United States and Canada, many parks, nature centers, and wildlife refuges host bird migra-tion walks under the IMBD program.

How? In Pennsylvania, many birders celebrate IMBD by participating in the Pennsylvania Annual Migratory The IMBD website provides many ideas for activities, guidelines for leading bird walks, and many free materials for use at events and whenever anyone wants to educate others about bird migration.

Get Involved: The coordinators of IMBD are available to answer questions or to help you organize a pro-gram. They can be contacted by email at migratorybirdday@aol.com or by phone at 1-866-334-3330 or 1-303-499-1950. It is easy to log your event on the IMBD Explorer's Map, an interactive map for educators, event planners, the press, and birders. The public can seek out events to attend.

Benefits: International Migratory Bird Day is a great occasion to educate the public about bird migration and conservation issues. It is a particularly effective way to reach out in urban areas where people may not have the regular occasion to experience birds and the migration event. IMBD also is a great way for nature and conservation centers to explain the importance of their institutions to the public in terms of birds and the habitat necessary to support the great event of bird migration. It also provides a wonderful forum for local bird clubs and Audubon Chapters to get more exposure to the general public with the common interest of bird education.

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