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#06-118 May 8, 2006

May 13 Migratory Bird Day emphasizes importance of protecting boreal forest

The theme for this year’s International Migratory Bird Day on Saturday on Saturday, May 13 is recognition and conservation of “The Boreal Forest: Bird Nursery of the Americas.” Protecting and providing habitat is one of the most important ways that people can benefit birds.

International Migratory Bird Day celebrates the return of millions of migratory birds to their breeding areas. Bird counts and birdwatching activities will mark South Carolina’s celebration of this annual event. Numerous conservation groups and agencies are inviting residents and visitors to participate in International Migratory Bird Day activities.

For information on events, check out the International Migratory Bird Day Web site at http://www.birdday.org/index.html. For more information, call DNR in Columbia at (803) 734-3886. Find ways to celebrate this event in your home or school by checking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Web site at http://www.fws.gov/birds/imbd/celebrate.html.

Some types of habitat are especially important to migratory birds, according to Laurel Barnhill, wildlife biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). These places may provide habitat for endangered or threatened species or species of concern, support large numbers of breeding, migrating or wintering birds, or provide habitat for species with limited ranges. Although most migratory birds are still abundant, many species are at risk due to loss of habitat in Latin America and habitat fragmentation in North American breeding grounds. Some 360 species of neotropical migratory birds winter in Latin America and return to the United States and Canada to breed.

On International Migratory Bird Day, thousands of birders, bird clubs, National Audubon Society chapters, federal and state wildlife agencies and many others will join in welcoming these birds back to their North American breeding grounds. These long-distance migrants are among the most colorful and beautiful songsters in the bird world and include the warblers, vireos, flycatchers, thrushes, tanagers, orioles, buntings, hummingbirds, goatsuckers, swallows, swifts and cuckoos.

International Migratory Bird Day is the hallmark event of Partners in Flight, a coalition of federal and state agencies, bird clubs, non-governmental organizations, corporations, and individuals, whose mission is to conserve migratory birds.
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