Yellowstone and Grand Teton celebrate Migratory Bird Day

Sandhill cranes are among the birds participants may see during an annual event to count migratory birds across North America.

Rob Koelling

Sandhill cranes are among the birds participants may see during an annual event to count migratory birds across North America.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks will both be hosting events this month in observance of the 2014 International Migratory Bird Day. Attendees will also have a chance to help conduct bird counts which aid in monitoring and managing wildlife and natural resources in the parks.

In Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, a bird-watching caravan is scheduled for Saturday, May 10, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.

Park ranger Andrew Langford will visit several areas throughout the park that provide the best opportunities to locate, identify and record birds. Attendees will help park staff conduct the annual North American bird count.

Anyone interested in birds is welcome to participate. The bird-watching excursion begins at 8 a.m. from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyo. and finishes by 4 p.m. at Christian Pond by Jackson Lake Lodge. This public activity is free and 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 items.

“Why Birds Matter: the Benefits of Birds to Humans and Nature” serves as the 2014 theme. This topic focuses expressly on the diversity of birds around the world, the migrations they make, and the fascinating range of behaviors, songs, and plumages that birds exhibit.

Many bird species naturally provide insect and rodent control. Others disperse seeds and effectively revegetate disturbed areas. Still others assist in the pollination of flowering plants, trees, and shrubs which provide both food and beauty for humans. Beyond the utilitarian, birds often inspire artistic expression through paintings, photography, poetry, music and dance.

For more information, call the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 307.739.3399.

Yellowstone National Park and the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center staff in West Yellowstone, Mont. will celebrate International Migratory Bird Day on Saturday, May 17, with free programs and a field trip that are open to the public.

A ranger-led bird watching car caravan is set for Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon inside the park.  Those interested in participating should meet at the Madison Junction picnic area.

Saturday afternoon between 1-4 p.m., the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone will host a live raptor program and a ranger-led presentation on common birds of the area.  Children of all ages can play the migration game, “It’s a Risky Journey,” create bird masks and origami or participate in a variety of other programs and activities.

Construction is underway north of the entrance to the Norris Campground on the road to Mammoth Hot Springs.  A 5.4 mile section of the road is being rebuilt, as is the bridge over the Gardner River. Visitors traveling from the northern part of the park should expect daytime delays of up to 30 minutes.

To learn more about the International Migratory go to http://www.birdday.org/birdday.

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