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Get Your Binoculars: It’s International Migratory Bird Day!

This Allen's hummingbird was spotted at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Photo by Ron LeValley.
This Allen’s hummingbird was photographed at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park by Ron LeValley.

Tomorrow is International Migratory Bird Day, when we celebrate our beautiful feathered friends for everything they contribute to our environment and for the long trek they take across the globe every year.

Birds play a hugely important role in the environment, from insect control by barn swallows and yellow warblers, to pollinating hummingbirds and seed dispersers like the American robin.

Additionally, birds such as the Peregrine falcon can be important indicators of environmental change: the impacts of things like pesticide use, for example, can often be seen in their populations. (The Peregrine falcon population decreased dramatically from the 1950s-70s due to the high use of DDT and other toxic pesticides, and now that those chemicals are no longer used, their population has recovered.)

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) was founded in 1993 by visionaries at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Every year since, on the second Saturday in May, this event has been used as an educational tool to remind the public of the importance of healthy bird populations and of protecting the critical habitat these birds need as they migrate across continents.

Peregrine falcon. Photo courtesy Oregon Fish & Wildlife Service.
The beautiful and environmentally important Peregrine falcon. Photo courtesy Oregon Fish & Wildlife Service.

So this year, grab your binoculars and bird book, and head outside to one of the many events happening around the US. A list of Bay Area events is below, and you can view a map of nationwide IMBD festivities at

Send us your pictures and let us know what you’ve spotted, because here at the League we love the birds!

Bay Area IMBD Events:





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About Deborah Zierten


Deborah joined the League's staff in 2013 as the Education & Interpretation Manager. She brings with her extensive experience teaching science, developing curriculum and connecting kids to the natural world.

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