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GLIN==> Colonial Waterbirds: International Migratory Bird Day 2004



For Release:  May 7, 2004

Contacts:   Nicholas Throckmorton 202/208-5636
Jennifer Wheeler 703/358-2318

                           COLONIAL WATERBIRDS:
                   INTERNATIONAL MIGRATORY BIRD DAY 2004

Visitors to refuges like Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge in northwest
Tennessee are wowed by the thousands of great blue herons living in
rookeries in cypress and water tupelo trees.  To celebrate spectacles like
this, this year's theme for International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)  is
"Colonial Waterbirds."  IMBD is internationally recognized on May 8, but
events will happen around the country throughout the year.

At hundreds of events such as bird walks, open houses, festivals, lectures
and demonstrations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is joining with
partners to recognize the ways birds have stimulated people to become
involved in conservation and to encourage individuals, corporations, and
organizations to be a part of continuing efforts to protect birds.

"Perhaps more than anything, International Migratory Bird Day  is a
reminder that wildlife does not recognize political or geographic
boundaries," said Service Director Steve Williams.  "Migratory birds offer
a compelling reminder that conservation transcends the borders of human
society. International Migratory Bird Day  is a great way to celebrate the
birds, and the partnerships forged to conserve them."

More than 500 IMBD celebrations will take place at National Wildlife
Refuges, fish hatcheries, field offices and at partnering organizations
such as parks, zoos, and schools.  The Service's IMBD website
<http://birds.fws.gov/IMBD> contains a listing of these events as well as
links to additional information on migratory bird conservation, including
the North American Bird Conservation Initiative.  The IMBD 2004 art and
materials portray ten bird species symbolizing conservation laws, programs,
and organizations that have benefitted birds, the environment and humans
alike.

Colonial birds nest together. One estimate is that 1 in 8 bird species
worldwide nest colonially.  Colony sites take many forms: mud nests
plastered on vertical surfaces; burrows riddling a seaside cliff, a stretch
of depressions in a sandy beach, or bulky stick nests forming a woodland
rookery.  Colonies also vary in size; from a few to sometimes millions of
birds packed together.

International Migratory Bird Day was created in 1993 to focus public
attention on the need to conserve birds and their habitats. This annual
event celebrates one of the most important and spectacular events in the
life of a migratory bird: its journey between summer and winter homes.
Today, International Migratory Bird Day is recognized in Canada, the United
States, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, and Central America.

For more information on IMBD, please see <http://www.birdday.org>.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people.  The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System which encompasses more than 530 national wildlife refuges, thousands
of small wetlands and other special management areas.  It also operates 70
national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological
services field stations.  The agency
enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act,
manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant
fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and
helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.  It also
oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of
dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and
wildlife agencies.

                                   -fws-
      For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
                 visit our homepage at http://www.fws.gov





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