Grand Teton National Park Celebrates International Migratory Bird Day

May 6, 2008

Grand Teton National Park will celebrate International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) with a bird-watching caravan on Sunday, May 11, 2008. Park ranger naturalist Andrew Langford will visit birding hotspots throughout the park to locate, identify, and count birds as part of the North American Migration Count.The free activity begins at 8 a.m. in the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at Moose, Wyoming and finishes by 4 p.m. at Christian Pond near Jackson Lake Lodge. Park entrance stations are open and collecting fees; participants will need to present a park pass when passing through these stations.

Observed each year in May to celebrate and support bird conservation, IMBD serves as the hallmark outreach event for Partners in Flight—an international conservation program whose goal is to reverse declining populations of migratory birds by bringing attention to factors that may contribute to worldwide declines. Anyone interested in birds is welcome to participate in Grand Teton’s IMBD celebration and annual bird count. Reservations are not required. Throughout the day, participants will take short walks at various locations, so those attending should wear comfortable shoes and bring a lunch, drinking water, warm clothing and rain gear. Bird field guides, binoculars and spotting scopes are also recommended.

According to the IMBD Web site, the theme for 2008 is “Tundra to Tropics: Connecting Birds, Habitat and People.” This theme focuses on the long distances that migratory birds travel between breeding and non-breeding sites throughout the Western Hemisphere. It also highlights the birds that make these fantastic journeys, and explores the habitats on which they depend and what those habitats provide. Additionally, the 2008 theme draws attention to the people who are important to conservation of birds and their habitats.

Nearly 350 North American migratory bird species travel each year between their nesting grounds in North America and non-breeding habitats in South and Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the southern United States; these include such familiar birds as ospreys, peregrine falcons, warblers and thrushes. Each spring, many of the same birds return to northwestern Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park where they find critical food resources and nesting sites during the summer season. Besides providing enjoyment for bird watchers around the world, migratory birds contribute to local, regional and world economies by controlling insect pests and generating billions in recreational dollars. Unfortunately, research indicates that many migratory bird species are in decline and facing increased threats on their migration routes and within their summer and winter habitats.

For more information about International Migratory Bird Day and the North American Migration Count, please call the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 307.739.3399.