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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

May 3, 2012

International Migratory Bird Day celebration set May 12

International Migratory Bird Day on Saturday, May 12 celebrates the return of millions of migratory birds to their breeding areas. Birding activities will mark South Carolina’s celebration of this annual event.

This year International Migratory Bird Day will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

What exactly is International Migratory Bird Day? Created in 1993, this migratory bird event increases public awareness and involvement in bird conservation. Birds are economically important and a priceless part of America’s natural heritage—and they are critical indicators of environmental health upon which we all depend. The event is now hosted at over 500 sites throughout the Western Hemisphere, reaching hundreds of thousands of youth and adults. International Migratory Bird Day is the largest-known conservation and education event of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

Numerous conservation groups and agencies including the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are inviting residents and visitors to participate in International Migratory Bird Day activities. Among the events scheduled to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day are the 2012 International Dawn Chorus scheduled for Sunday, May 6 at Congaree National Park near Hopkins, and Sewee Go Wild, Go Birding on Monday, May 14 at Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center in Awendaw.

Although most migratory birds are still abundant, many species are at risk due to loss of habitat throughout the Western Hemisphere, according to Lex Glover with the DNR’s Wildlife Section.

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.

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