Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Great Smoky Mountains National Park International Bird Conservation

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be holding 2 days of events highlighting International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) and this years International Migratory Bird Day theme "Birds in a Changing Climate" examining age old practices of bird observation and being able to foretell future weather patterns.

Long before computer models and advanced weather forecasting techniques, farmers based crop planting decisions upon the movement and arrival of migratory birds. Observing the migration of birds is allowing scientists today see the how the current changes in weather patterns is affecting the birds and animal and plant species that are connected to the migration of birds.

Both International Migratory Bird Day demonstrations start at 8:00 am and will be held at the North Carolina National Park Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee this Saturday May 5th and at the Tennessee National Park Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg on Monday, May 7th.

There will be demonstrations led by Park Biologist Paul Super as well as guided bird walks. In order to show visitors how birds are caught, examined, banded and eventually released without being harmed, Paul Super will set up delicate mist nets and demonstrate how they work.

A special visitor the Costa Rican coordinator of the Partners in Flight international bird conservation initiative Pablo Elizondo will be participating in this event. He will also be working with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park researchers into the summer in a cooperative venture allowing Pablo Elizondo to share his knowledge with park researches as well as learn some of their techniques as well.

Pablo Elizondo will be giving presentations to the pubic on bird conservation and the efforts that Costa Rica is making on conservation. For years Cost Rica has been actively protecting its natural assets acknowledging the value of their resources to its citizens as well as value of ecotourism.

Many of the resident birds of Smoky Mountains are intimately connected with Costa Rica and other Central American and Caribbean countries many thousands of miles away since they spend the winter months in more temperate climates. Clearly conservation efforts to protect migratory species need to far reaching since migratory birds pass through and inhabit many countries.

Thankfully there are international efforts working to protect migratory bird species and their unique habitats in the national parks in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The National Park Service's cooperative Park Flight Migratory Program is part of this valuable international conservation effort.

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