2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird protection law ever passed. To honor its success, nature lovers around the world are joining forces to make 2018 the “Year of the Bird.” The next twelve months will be a celebration of scientific research and conservation efforts that protect birds today and will inspire and recommit support for the next hundred years.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is proud to join a group of more than one hundred conservation-minded organizations, such as National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and BirdLife International, to help rally local and worldwide awareness and support for birds and their habitats. Ensuring the success of migratory birds is an integral part of CPW’s mission to protect the wildlife resources of Colorado for current and future generations.
Four Ways to Join the Celebration
1. Hit The Trail
Explore Colorado’s diversity of wildlife and habitats while traveling sections of the Colorado Birding Trail. From the grasslands to the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, 54 trails connect nearly 800 sites for viewing wildlife. Visit the Colorado Birding Trail website to start learning the birding basics and to download free trail guides.
2. Attend a Festival
Kick off the “Year of the Bird” by attending one of the entertaining and educational festivals listed below.
Bald Eagle Festivals
February is an excellent month for bald eagle viewing. The Annual Barr Lake Bald Eagle Festival and the 22nd Annual Pueblo Eagle Days offer perfect opportunities for viewing nesting pairs and many other wintering eagles.
High Plains Snow Goose Festival
Colorado’s abundant habitat makes the state a favorite rest stop for migrating waterfowl. Head out to the festival to view hundreds of geese making a refueling stop on their trip to the Canadian Arctic where they will nest.
Monte Vista Crane Festival
Enjoy thousands of cranes, ducks, and geese flying against a backdrop of mountain scenery. Raptors will adorn the power poles and owls will be sitting with their young. The festival hosts wildlife experts, local naturalists, and biologists who present educational workshops at the Monte Vista Middle School (workshops are free!), while flocks of dancing sandhills assemble in the neighboring farm fields just east of town.
For a complete list of annual wildlife viewing festivals, please visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.
3. Make it Count
Join this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) in February. Bird watchers help create a snapshot of bird activity across the continent. From beginning bird watchers to seasoned veterans, anyone can participate. Free, fun, and easy, the Great Backyard Bird Count is a fun way to help both birds and scientists. Scientists use information from the Great Backyard Bird Count, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations.
4. Take the Bird Your World Pledge
Sign the “Bird Your World Pledge” on the Year of the Bird website. You’ll receive monthly calls to action – simple challenges designed to encourage taking small, important steps to learn more about the threats birds face today. #yearofthebird #birdyourworld #NationalBirdDay
For more information on the Year of the Bird and related activities, please visit http://cpw.state.co.us/Year-of-the-Bird.