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USFS hosts International Migratory Bird Day celebration Saturday

Posted: May 10, 2013 - 12:05am

JUNEAU — The Tongass National Forest will host International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) activities on Saturday, May 11 at the Juneau Community Garden. The popular day of bird-oriented education and activities is a free event organized by the US Forest Service in partnership with the Juneau Audubon Society and the Juneau Community Garden.

Now is when migratory songbirds arrive in Southeast Alaska from places as far away as South America. Locally, most small-sized birds like warblers, thrushes and hummingbirds are migratory, and many return to start their nests in May. This is an opportunity to see these beautiful travelers up close and learn how scientists study them.

Gwen Baluss, a wildlife technician with the U.S. Forest Service, said “most of the birds that (will be) captured at the garden are long distance migrants.”

For instance, the yellow warbler has a normal winter range that extends from New Mexico south to Bolivia and often mixes with tropical birds in the humid tropical rain forests, Baluss said.

International Migratory Bird Day was started more than 20 years ago in order to increase awareness of the challenges faced by migrating birds. It is currently coordinated by the Environment for the Americas. The Saturday activities will mark more than 15 years of participation by the Tongass National Forest.

Morning events will be held at Juneau Community Garden (off Montana Creek Road) and will include a songbird banding demonstration happening between 8-11 a.m. at the large pavilion. Also starting at the pavilion, an expert will lead concurrent Audubon Bird Walks to the nearby marsh.

This event is family-friendly and free of charge.

• For more information contact Gwen Baluss at the US Forest Service Juneau Ranger District, 789-6254.

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