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Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day May 17

Discover Migratory Birds and Their Amazing Navigation

Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day May 17

Female black-chinned hummingbird stops for a drink from a feeder. Photo courtesy of ABQ BioPark.

We humans use landmarks and maps to find our way around, but migratory birds travel thousands of miles using an internal compass. This Saturday, learn about the world's amazing bird migrations and the important ecosystem roles they play. Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day on May 17, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden.

BioPark staff and volunteers have a day of discovery planned with crafts, games, and hands-on learning. Visitors can play a migration route game to experience the challenges birds face as they travel across continents. At the Heritage Farm, kids can learn how to identify birds, make cardboard binoculars, and create bird masks as they learn about birds' many kinds of beaks.

"Bird migration is really amazing because birds are so small but fly hundreds of thousands of miles in their lifetimes," says Tallie Segel, Botanic Garden Education Coordinator. "They have to move quickly and cover huge amounts of land, and they have to have healthy habitats all along the way. Birds connect all those habitats, stitching them together like a needle and thread.

Migrating birds are important pollinators, decomposers and predators. Here in New Mexico, robins help disperse plants' seeds, swallows control insects, hummingbirds pollinate flowers and turkey vultures scavenge dead animals and keep diseases from spreading. In addition, birds like egrets inspire the arts.

For more information about International Migratory Bird Day celebrations across the country, visit www.birdday.org. International Migratory Bird Day activities are included with admission.

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