Grand Teton to Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day

Mountain bluebird
April 30, 2009
Grand Teton National Park will celebrate International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) with a bird-watching caravan on Saturday, May 9, 2009. Park ranger naturalist Andrew Langford will visit areas throughout the park that provide excellent opportunities 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. Reservations are not required.

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. 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 2009 is “Celebrating Birds in Culture.” This theme explores the historical and continuing relationship between native people and birds. Images of birds in cave art and on everyday objects—weavings and pottery, ceremonial objects, and hunting tools—highlight the role that birds have played in native peoples’ spirituality, stories, art, music, and dance. Birds were often considered a connection to the spirit world; it was believed that they carried messages to the spirits and, in the case of ducks, for example, they were thought to help the dead on the path to the afterlife. Native people invented the first duck decoys to help them hunt waterfowl, and many tribes are active today in bird and habitat conservation, protecting habitats, preserving wetlands, and reintroducing species to tribal lands.

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. Participants of the Migratory Bird Day activity are reminded that park entrance stations are open; therefore, they will need to present a park pass to travel through the entrance gates.