[Source: WMIcentral.com] – The Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering a unique opportunity for people to learn more about the fascinating variety of birds found in the White Mountains area. On Friday evening, May 20, wildlife biologists will conduct a birding natural history program in conjunction with International Migratory Bird Day that is free and open to the public at the department’s Pinetop regional office. The two-hour classroom program begins at6 p.m., and will be followed by a hands-on, field application session the next morning starting at7 a.m.
“This is a great opportunity for people to develop an appreciation for migratory birds that are found here seasonally, as well as learn bird identification skills using your senses of sight and sound,” says Dan Groebner, nongame biologist.
International Migratory Bird Day was created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in 1993 as a way to focus attention on one of the most important and spectacular events in the life of a migratory bird – its journey between its summer and winter homes. Participants will be able to hear recorded calls, learn about birding websites, software and field guides, and learn how to get involved in department or other local birding programs. They will also be able to view dozens of bird mounts up close and learn distinguishing characteristics.
“There will be a birding hike around the office property Saturday morning with several hands-on activities to enhance learning,” says Groebner. “It’s a good idea to bring binoculars.” Funding for this special educational program is made available through the Game and Fish Heritage Fund, which comes from lottery ticket sales and is used for conservation purposes, including educating our children about wildlife, protecting endangered species and creating more opportunities for outdoor recreation. For more information, contact Dan Groebner at the Pinetop Game and Fish office at (928) 367-4281.