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NCTC partners with Audubons in May

By Staff | May 15, 2012

The Potomac Audubon Society (PVAS) and the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) have partnered to host a series of events in May in celebration of the 20 year anniversary of International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD).

The IMBD is an international program, initiated by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, to promote greater understanding of the importance of migratory birds in North, Central and South America.

PVAS and NCTC’s series of events will span the first two weeks of May and incorporate special programs, lectures and numerous bird walking tours.

“We’ve never done anything like this before,” said Mark Madison, historian at the National Conservation Training Center.

Madison explained that NCTC paired with PVAS on this special project as it is the center’s duty to manage all populations of migratory birds in the U.S. and work toward their conservation.

“It’s one of our longest conservation success stories,” he said.

According to Sandy Sagalkin, birding committee chair and member of PVAS for about five years, IMBD is an “especially important” day because many migratory bird populations are in decline due to a combination of natural and manmade events.

Sagalkin said that many bird populations have had their natural habitats replaced by development and he believes its important to educate the public about an issue that will ultimately put our own species at risk.

“This is really a reflection of what’s happening in our environment and to us,” he said.

Sagalkin called the migratory birds “sentinels” for what is happening to all to all life on earth.

“It’s like the canary in the mine,” he said.

According to Madison, West Virginia serves as an optimal location to view the bird migration as it’s centered in the Atlantic flyway zone.

“We’re right in the middle of one of the four major migratory routes in North America,” Madison said.

Madison agreed that making people aware of the migratory bird populations and their patterns will help ensure their protection.

“I’m looking forward to people getting more connected to their local nature,” he said.

The events kicked off May 2 at NCTC where migratory bird expert and author Scott Weidensaul discussed bird migration trends and issues.

On May 5, “Birding Through History” will take place at the Antietam National Battlefield from 8 to 11a.m., as well as “Bald Eagle Watch” at NCTC form 11 a.m. to noon. On May 6, a bird walk on the C&O Canal will be held from 7 to 10 a.m. and on May 8, a bird walk at Stauffer’s Marsh in Berkeley County will be held form 7 to 10 a.m.

PVAS will hold an evening program on May 9 at NCTC featuring ornithologist Rich Bailey at 7 p.m. On May 10 the final bird walk at Flowing Springs park in Jefferson County will be held 7 to 10 a.m., followed by a May Bird Count in Washington County, Md. on May 12.

The 2012 Ruth Ann Dean Memorial “Birdathon” will be held May 12 and 13. All local events will be free and open to the public, though pre-registration is required for some.

Visit www.potomac-audubon.org for more info or contact Sandy Sagalkin at 240-291-6465.