Albany Pine Bush News

INTERNATIONAL MIGRATORY BIRD DAY AT THE DISCOVERY CENTER

ALBANY NY – The Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center will co-host International Migratory Bird Day with the Audubon Society of the Capital Region on Saturday May 11, 2013 from 8:00am-2:00pm. Stop by the Discovery Center and celebrate migratory birds and the journeys they undertake each spring and fall through exhibits, bird banding demonstrations, interactive games, and a presentation on Studying Bird Migration in the 21st Century by Dr. Jeremy Kirchman (11:00am).

“The annual spectacle of bird migration is an awe-inspiring phenomenon,” said Discovery Center Director Jeffrey Folmer. “We’re delighted to partner with Audubon in presenting this free day of exciting programs where there will be something of interest to all ages.”

The day begins promptly at 8:00am with a bird walk suitable for all ages and guided by naturalists. Bring sturdy walking shoes and a drink. According to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve’s Conservation Director and USGS Master Bird Bander, Neil Gifford, “There are more than 170 kinds of birds using the Preserve. Thanks to their high abundance, boisterous song and vibrant color they are some of the Preserve’s most watchable wildlife and they tell us a lot about the health of the globally-rare pitch pine – scrub oak barrens.”

Gifford will offer bird banding demonstrations and a rare opportunity to see how birds influence Preserve management. Gifford added that, “The short foliage characteristic of pine barrens makes it fairly easy to watch birds here, with the barrens hosting large populations of several Young Forest bird species that are declining throughout the northeast including eastern towhee, prairie warbler, indigo bunting, field sparrow, eastern kingbird, and brown thrasher.”

Bird migration has long been a subject of intensive study, and some recent technological advancements have opened new windows in this field. In his presentation Dr. Kirchman, Curator of Ornithology at the New York State Museum, will describe how DNA sequencing, stable-isotope analysis, and new devises that track the movements of individual birds have enabled a deeper understanding of the evolution and ecology of bird migration. The view through these new windows makes the annual journeys of our migratory birds look even more astounding than previously realized.

Dr. Kirchman has studied birds at the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science, The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, The Smithsonian Institution, and the Florida Museum of Natural History. Now working out of the New York State Museum, he conducts research on the origin and extinction of bird species

All ages are welcome to this FREE event which will be held rain or shine from 8:00am-2:00pm at the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center at 195 New Karner Road, Albany. Visit AlbanyPineBush.org for more details and to pre-register for the walk or the presentation (strongly recommended), and click on Events Calendar or call 518-456-0655.

Located within the Capital District Region, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve’s gently rolling sand plain is home to a variety of rare plants and animals, including the Federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly. The 3,200-acre Preserve, also creates a special habitat for a number of other rare and unique plants and animals, while providing visitors with 18 miles of trails for an assortment of non-motorized recreational opportunities including hiking, jogging, nature study, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing.

The Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center is a state-of-the-art LEED “Gold” certified green building that introduces visitors to everything that makes the Preserve rare and adventurous. As the gateway to the Pine Bush, the Discovery Center transforms this globally-unique destination into an exciting adventure where learning comes naturally through interactive exhibits and the fully-accessible, interpretive Discovery Trail. With the help of many volunteers, the Discovery Center offers monthly outings and programs about the ecology, natural history and cultural history of the Pine Bush. Admission to the Discovery Center and the Discovery Shop is free –there is a small fee for programs. The Center is now open daily weekdays 9AM-4PM, weekends 10AM-4PM (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day). The Discovery Center is also ideal for training sessions, meetings, small conferences, special events, business retreats and private parties. For more information, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org or call 518-456-0655.

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