ALBANY NY – The Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center will host the annual Migration Celebration on Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 10:00am-4:00pm. The event celebrates International Migratory Bird Day and will feature some of the area’s premiere bird experts, a demonstration with live birds of prey, the Migration Challenge, crafts, lectures, and more.
“The annual spectacle of bird migration is an awe-inspiring phenomenon,” said Discovery Center Director Jeffrey Folmer. “Some of their remarkable journeys easily exceed a thousand miles travelling over land and sea. We’re delighted to partner with Audubon New York and the Audubon Society of the Capital Region in presenting this free day of programs where there will be something of interest to all ages.”
Christopher Hawver, Executive Director of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission noted that, “It’s becoming ever-more apparent that the Preserve plays a very important role in the migration of numerous bird species. There are some very exciting developments ongoing at the Preserve and we hope folks will come out to learn more about the vital research, restoration and preservation ongoing here and the connection to migrating bird populations.”
The day begins with a pre-event bird walk and banding demonstration at 7:30am suitable for all ages and guided by naturalists (space is limited and pre-registration is required). The Albany Pine Bush Preserve’s Conservation Director and Master Bird Bander Neil Gifford will offer a bird banding demonstration and a rare opportunity to see how birds influence Preserve management.
“There are more than 170 kinds of birds using the Preserve,” according to Gifford. “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 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.”
Following a welcome from Executive Director Hawver and others at 10:00am, Beth Bidwell from Wild Things Environmental Education will allow visitors to come face to face with some of the hawks, owls, and falcons that live in our area and will teach them about the amazing adaptations that put these animals at the top of the food chain.
At 12:00pm keynote speaker and local bird expert Rich Guthrie will present “My How You’ve Changed – A Half Century of Changes in the Bird Life in New York”. Rich is a naturalist and bird expert who is a frequent guest commentator on WAMC’s Vox Pop – Birding with Rich Guthrie. He is a retired biologist from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and a member of the Habitat Advisory Committee. Rich will share his adventures and observations in birding starting with his childhood in Brooklyn to his observations of changing bird migration patterns he sees today up and down the Hudson Valley.
Attendees will have the chance to learn from numerous bird experts, take the Migration Challenge by making their way through six stations set up to give them the experience of challenges faced by migratory birds, make a bird craft, and more.
All ages are welcome to this FREE event which will be held rain or shine from 10:00am-4:00pm at the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center at 195 New Karner Road, Albany. For more details and to pre-register for the pre-event walk, visit AlbanyPineBush.org and click on Events Calendar or call 518-456-0655.
Located within New York’s Capital District, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve is one of only twenty inland pine barrens left in the entire world and widely considered to be the best example. The 3,200-acre Preserve is predominantly defined by gently rolling sand dunes that support an extraordinary fire-dependent habitat. Home to more than 55 New York State-designated Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly, this globally-rare ecosystem also offers visitors 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 Discovery Center is a state-of-the-art interpretive center that introduces visitors to everything that makes the Preserve rare and adventurous. As the gateway to the Pine Bush, this LEED Gold-certified “green” building transforms a visit to our unique destination into an even more exciting exploration where learning comes naturally through interactive exhibits, the interpretive Discovery Trail, and numerous programs on the ecology, natural history and cultural history of the Pine Bush. Admission to the Discovery Center is free (there is a small fee for programs). The Center is open DAILY weekdays 9AM-4PM, weekends 10AM-4PM (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). For more information, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org or call 518-456-0655.