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Migratory Bird Day is May 12

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POSTED: May 8, 2007 5:02 a.m.
Grab the binoculars and head outdoors for some of the most outstanding bird watching opportunities available in Georgia this spring and summer. To raise awareness of the conservation needs of migratory songbirds, shorebirds and their habitats throughout the hemisphere, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division and State Parks and Historic Sites Division, Georgia Partners in Flight, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and many statewide partners designated Saturday, May 12 for recognition of International Migratory Bird Day in Georgia. To celebrate the return of these fascinating migrants, DNR invites Georgians to enjoy and learn more about these remarkable birds at events taking place throughout the state.
“IMBD is a celebration of the amazing journeys many birds make between the places where they nest and where they spend the non-breeding season,”  WRD wildlife biologist and IMBD State Coordinator Tim Keyes said. “Many state, public and private organizations are providing informative and enjoyable activities throughout Georgia in support of this spectacular bird migration season.”
Many IMBD-related events are hosted throughout Georgia during April and May. Several of DNR’s State Parks and Historic Sites will host bird-related events for the entire family and WRD will again host Georgia’s Youth Birding Competition on April 28-29.
“Inspired by the World Series of Birding event in Cape May, N.J., this bird-a-thon/conservation fundraiser is a great opportunity to get kids excited about birds and the natural world while helping support a nongame wildlife project or conservation organization of their choice,” Keyes said.
Georgia is host to more than 400 species of birds including many neotropical migrants and migratory shorebirds. These unique migratory birds travel thousands of miles to and from their wintering and breeding grounds, passing through much of Georgia. Guided by stars, the earth’s magnetic field, and landforms like rivers and mountains, birds ranging in size from ruby-throated hummingbirds, weighing only 3, grams to swallow-tailed kites, with 4-foot wingspans, navigate the western hemisphere in a race to return to their breeding grounds. The remarkable nature of these annual journeys can hardly be overstated.
The theme for IMBD 2007 is “Birds in a Changing Climate.” Birds have long been indicators of environmental change, sounding the alarm about the impacts of pesticides, polluted water, and the loss of contiguous forest. While IMBD continues to promote the joy of birds, it will also tackle a challenging, yet pertinent topic in 2007 — climate change.
The reactions of birds to weather have long been noted. For hundreds of years, farmers have used the arrivals of migratory birds to make decisions about planting crops. Changes in the movements of some species are just one indicator of the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. Today, as the rate of warming increases, scientists are exploring how climate change will affect birds and how we can reduce our impact.
For more information about “Birds in a Changing Climate” or to locate IMBD celebrations in your area, visit www.birdday.org
2007 Birding Events
• Common Birds of Georgia: Friday, 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., Smithgall Woods Conservation Area and Lodge, Helen, register in advance. $3 parking, call 706-878-3087 for more information.
• Spring Wildflower and Bird Hike: Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., New Echota Historic Site, Calhoun, morning hike at 10 a.m. and afternoon hike at 2 p.m. $2.50-$4 fee, call 706-624-1321 for more information.
• Feathered Friends: Saturday, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m., Providence Canyon State Park, Lumpkin, $1 plus $3 parking, call 229-838-6202 for more information.
• Birding by Ear: Saturday, 8 a.m. - 10 a.m., Smithgall Woods Conservation Area and Lodge, Helen, register in advance, $3 parking, call 706-878-3087
• SOAR Birds of Prey Program: May 5, 11 a.m. Crooked River State Park, St. Mary’s, $3 parking. call 912-882-8531.
 

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