Visitors and residents across the region are invited to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day in Grand Teton National Parks this Saturday, May 9, and in Yellowstone National Park on Saturday, May 17.
In Grand Teton National Park, ranger Andrew Langford will visit several park areas that provide the best opportunities to locate, identify, and record birds as part of the annual North American bird count.
The bird-watching excursion begins May 9 at 8 a.m. from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose and finishes by 4 p.m. at Christian Pond by Jackson Lake Lodge. This public activity is free and reservations are not required. Participants of are reminded that park entrance stations are open; therefore a park pass is required for travel through any fee station.
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.
The 2015 Bird Day theme, “Restore Habitat, Restore Birds,” focuses on the loss and degradation of bird habitats around the world. Grand Teton National Park provides critical habitat for a host of migratory birds, as well as year-round species. The arrival each spring of sandhill cranes, mountain bluebirds, western tanagers, meadow larks and other charismatic and fascinating birds brings delight to park visitors and local bird watchers alike.
In Yellowstone National Park, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center will help celebrate International Migratory Bird Day on Saturday, May 16, with free public programs and a field trip.
A bird-watching car caravan is set for May 16 from 8 a.m. to noon inside the park. Those interested in participating should meet at the Madison Junction picnic area. Caravan riders are reminded they will need to pay the $25 park entrance fee.
That same afternoon between 1 and 4 p.m., the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana, will host a live raptor program and a presentation on common birds of the area. Children of all ages can participate in a variety of programs, crafts and activities, including making bird masks, origami, and a migration game called “It’s a Risky Journey.”
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.
Observed each year in May to support avian conservation, International Migratory Bird Day serves as the hallmark outreach event for Partners in Flight—an international conservation program with a goal to reverse dwindling populations of migratory birds by bringing attention to factors that contribute to worldwide declines.
For more information about Bird Day events in Grand Teton, call the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 307-739-3399. For further information on Bird Day events n Yellowstone, call volunteer Katy Duffy at 307-699-2696. For details on International Migratory Bird Day worldwide, go to http://www.migratorybirdday.org.