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International Migratory Bird Day

The Friends of Madera Canyon and the U. S. Forest Service (USFS) are the primary sponsors of the annual Madera Canyon International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD). The first Madera Canyon IMBD was celebrated in the canyon on Saturday, May 2, 2009. International Migratory Bird Days are festivals dedicated to increasing public awareness of birds and their conservation throughout the Western Hemisphere. Originally created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, D.C. and first celebrated in 1993, the event has grown with over 330 festivals registered in 2008 from Canada to South America. The Madera Canyon IMBD is one of several Arizona celebrations.

The Madera Canyon IMBD is held on the first or second Saturday in May. Dedicated to Madera Canyon’s famous birds, the day also celebrates all of the canyon’s other amazing plants and animals as well. Recreation/parking fees are waived by the USFS for the day’s events. Guided morning bird walks in the canyon’s premiere birding areas kick off the festival. IMBD activities center on the White House Picnic Ramada, where participating conservation and education organizations set up displays, sale items, and kid’s activities. Friends natural history docents lead hourly bird/nature walks around the White House Nature Loop. Displays and activities are scheduled at other canyon recreation sites during the day’s festivities.

One of the 2009 highlights was the dedication of the beautiful new Amphitheater Bridge. Built well above the creek to avoid floods, the bridge’s location high in the tree canopy creates a new and unique canyon birding opportunity. Bridge-crossers can get an eye-level look at birds foraging up in the Evergreen Oak Woodland. In 2010, wildlife demonstrations with reptiles and birds at Amphitheater were extremely popular.

Tucson Audubon Society, Arizona Native Plant Society, Sky Island Alliance, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, Friends of Sonoita Creek, and the Santa Rita Experimental Range are regular festival participants. The Friends of Madera Canyon wants to thank all participants and participating organizations for attending the IMBD and helping to make it a growing, successful event. Also big thank you is due to all the volunteers, Friends and otherwise, that facilitate the event! The Madera Canyon IMBD provides another important opportunity for the FoMC to promote “conservation through education."

By all accounts, IMBD birding is fabulous; participants getting good looks at a great variety of canyon residents, migrants, and rare “celebrities” from canyon trails and lodging feeders. Birding highlights for the 2009 and 2010 IMBD included Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Arizona Woodpecker, Magnificent Hummingbird, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Painted Redstart, Lazuli Bunting, Yellow-breasted Chat, Flame-colored Tanager, two pairs of Elegant Trogon, and displaying male Wild Turkeys. As expected, a variety of warblers, vireos, flycatchers, tanagers, and other Madera Canyon birds were also seen by birders.

For information and updates about the Madera Canyon International Migratory Bird Day festival, please refer to the Event Calendar on this website.